For most college students, spring break is synonymous with sandy beaches, sunshine, and a break from all school-related responsibilities. For college golfers though – often in the middle of their seasons - Reynolds Lake Oconee is a popular destination, as our warm weather and multiple golf courses provide an appealing draw, especially for schools in colder regions. We interviewed four coaches who brought their teams here this year – Kenneth Harding of Knox College; Blake Smart of the University of Memphis; Vince Drahman of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); and Ryan Swanson of Saint Bonaventure University (SBU) – and asked them why they chose Reynolds for #SpringBreak2K19.

We are so happy to welcome you to Reynolds Lake Oconee for your spring break. What factors led you to choose Reynolds as your destination?

Blake (Memphis): I grew up in North Georgia and have been coming to Reynolds since 1999 when I played in the State Amateur Golf Tournament at Great Waters. As a frequent visitor here, I wanted to give my players the Reynolds experience as well. The golf, the people, and the lifestyle are ideal for a college golf team.

Vince (IUPUI): We chose Reynolds because of its great facilities as well as the diversity of the golf courses. The five courses offered us options to play and practice on different types of courses and grasses, which we will experience as we move into conference play. An added benefit was that we could drive there as opposed to flying.

The golf, the people, and the lifestyle are ideal for a college golf team. Blake Smart, Head Coach - University of Memphis

At Reynolds, we offer five world-class courses open for resort guest play and the acclaimed Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade. What was most helpful for your program?

Kenneth (Knox): I feel like all of the courses prepared us very well for the upcoming season. Since Knox College is located in mid-state Illinois (Galesburg, Illinois) we would not have been able to play outside until the end of March. Just being able to play outside (they visited 3/13-3/19) as opposed to the simulations we use in our indoor facilities was a huge benefit, but each course helped us with our preparation as they all present a different challenge. Furthermore, the Kingdom was just the icing on the cake to an amazing trip. When we visited noted PGA professional Noah Begay was there as well getting fitted and he took the time to speak with the team. Not only was meeting Noah a great way to end our trip, but the staff at the Kingdom treated our student-athletes with so much respect.

Blake (Memphis): I liked the variety of golf courses. They each are unique, but are all centered around great views of Lake Oconee. Also, I can't say enough about the golf professionals at each course. The staff went above and beyond to welcome us, which makes my job really easy and allows the boys to have a great time working on their game.

Knox College w/ PGA Tour professional Notah Begay at the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf

With your season underway, what did you hope to accomplish this trip with your team? What improvements were made during your visit?

Blake (Memphis): College golf is a grind, particularly in March and April. So for us, our visit to Reynolds was a chance to practice and play at a great venue, but more importantly a chance to build camaraderie and hang out as a group.

Ryan (SBU): The goal was to play and practice as much as possible, but most of all, it was to come together as a team. We certainly improved our games and team chemistry while on the property for the week.

How many rounds (or holes of golf) and courses were you able to play during your stay here?

Kenneth (Knox): This year we were able to play all five courses and also experience The Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade. In total, we played seven rounds of golf and spent a full afternoon at The Kingdom.

Vince (IUPUI): We played seven rounds over five days on The Landing, The National, Oconee, and The Preserve courses. The weather was great so we wanted to get as many rounds in as possible.

Where did your team stay while here? How does a road trip like this help build your team’s chemistry for conference play?

Kenneth (Knox): During this year’s trip we were able to stay at the cottages that sit behind the 15th green at The Oconee Course. This trip – and all of us staying together - allowed a group of players to become a family. We believe that our trip to Reynolds sets the tone for our conference season.

Ryan (SBU): We rented a private home big enough for all of us (10 players and 2 coaches). It was perfect. We grilled out every night, shot pool, played cards, and watched basketball. The camaraderie was second to none and definitely something we will look to do again.

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