This column intends to spotlight student athlete-artists from each of SCAD’s sports teams, no matter how well-established or accomplished. This week’s piece features two members of the SCAD Savannah women’s golf team who won the 2017 USCB Invitational last week.
What I admire about sports, whether participating or spectating, is their fluidity. Though different athletic teams require unique methods of play and strategy, a certain level of fitness and teamwork acquired is transferable from one sport to another, no matter how physically contrasting the two are.
This was the scenario for both Corinne Grans-Wood and Paulina Camacho.
Neither Grans-Wood nor Camacho initially considered golfing until they were already well into other sports. For Grans-Wood it was competitive hockey, and for Camacho, tennis.
Grans-Wood, a senior film and television student from Barrie, Ontario, Canada, had a friend who golfed around the time she was playing hockey. The friend suggested Grans-Wood, who was 12 at the time, play with her in a few golfing tournaments.
“Funnily enough, she has since quit golf and gone to school in the states with a hockey scholarship and here I am golfing at SCAD,” Grans-Wood said.
Camacho, a senior fashion design student from Tuxtla Gutiérrez Chiapas, Mexico, was 9 when she decided to try a new sport. Her mother recommended golf lessons. After a few months of lessons, Camacho began playing in tournaments.
“Since then, my goal has been to get a sports scholarship in the United States, which is the reason why I came here to SCAD,” Camacho said.
Both Grans-Wood and Camacho sought golf and their areas of study when applying for and researching schools. SCAD offered them the opportunity to play golf as well as pursue creative careers that would not have been available at other universities.
“One of my friends’ sister was actually a SCAD graduate, so I had heard of the school,” Grans-Wood said. “I had visited Savannah once before, when I was 13, and had been asking my parents to come back and visit. When I heard about SCAD, we reached out to Coach Workman and organized a visit. After hearing about the golf program and visiting the film buildings, I had made my decision.”
Camacho, like many of SCAD’s athlete-artists, routinely encounters classmates who are unaware the university has a golf program, let alone athletics.
“I usually go to class wearing my golf clothes because we have practice right after class and sometimes my classmates would think I’m on the tennis team until they realize it says ‘SCAD GOLF’ on my shirt,” Camacho said.
Grans-Wood enjoys informing her peers of her team’s success, and also keeps her professors in the loop in terms of how her team is doing and when she will be absent for tournaments.
“We have scheduled team practices up to four times a week and practices typically run for two to three hours,” Grans-Wood said. “We’ll rotate between hitting on the range and working on our short game in preparation for tournaments. A round of golf is a big time commitment and for us, we have to stay focused in tournaments for four to five hours while we play. We do our best in practice to simulate competitive rounds in order to prepare us for our tournaments.”
According to Camacho, there are ten students on the women’s golf team, including her and Grans-Wood. Their coach typically takes five team members to tournaments, which gives those five players time to bond on and off the course.
“When it comes to our practice schedule, we have to split it into two different groups,” Camacho said. “This quarter we are having practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and it’s usually three hours long. A round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, which normally takes between four to five hours. It all depends on the weather and the pace of the other groups.”
One of Grans-Wood’s favorite aspects of golf is the psychology of its players because the sport is considered more of a mental game than a physical one.
“It’s something I’ve been working on throughout my entire college career,” Grans-Wood said. “In golf, you have to stay focused for an extended period of time and each individual player has their own strategies and techniques in order to find that perfect mental balance of calm yet competitive.”
Artist-athletes are often skilled in the art of balancing school work with extracurricular activities, something that comes with time and patience according to Grans-Wood.
“I always say I procrastinate the most during the weeks we have off from golf,” Grans-Wood said. “When you have a busy schedule, you may only have a two-hour time slot to finish an assignment, so you find a way to get it done. You may have to make sacrifices and choose to work when your friends are able to take the night off, but it’s worth it for the experiences we gain in exchange.”
With two tournament wins under their belts, Camacho, Grans-Wood and their teammates are off to a strong start this golfing season. Students interested in following their roster and schedule can visit the SCAD athletics website or the women’s golf Instagram page, @scadwomensgolf.