Playing College Golf in America, a dream come true for many golfers. The USA is the golf country, that is evident given the worldwide toppers who are mainly American: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and many more! Of course you do not become such a global top player just like that, but starting with College Golf turns out to be a good start. Because did you know that among the world’s top 100 golf players, as many as 50 of them played College Golf before turning pro? Crazy right ?!

The facilities, the professionalism, the team feeling. Those are some of the most common reasons why golfers around the world want to start a career as a College Golfer. Earlier we wrote an article on why college golf is more fun than ‘regular’ golf, did you read that one already? As a golfer, you will probably become enthusiastic by reading it. And you know what… Our slamstox golf specialist Thijs can tell you a lot more about this! Would you like to talk to Thijs and get to know what your options are? Then click on the button below!

But who better to tell you what it’s like to be a college golfer than our own college golfers ?! And that is why, in the midst of their busy schedule as a student-athlete, they have taken some time to tell us a bit more about their life in the USA.

Mayka Hoogeboom – Kent State

1. Mayka Hoogeboom

University: Kent State
Conference: MAC Conference
Entry semester: Fall 2020

Mayka left for Kent State, Ohio in August 2020! There, Mayka is part of a high-ranking team that is part of the MAC Conference. In recent years before her departure, she also had a lot of success in the Netherlands: she won national championships in 2018, both individually and with her Dutch team. Mayka also won silver twice in 2019: at the National Championships U21 and at the ‘National Stroke Play’.

This week we had a chat with her and asked her to share some things about America so far. You can read more about this below:

What is your best sports moment so far?
The first tournament I played (Clemson Invitational). Because of Corona we played with the team in 1 flight (5 men in 1 flight). We had also won that tournament, so it was one of the best experiences.

What do you think of the facilities at your school?
We have a large indoor facility for when it snows. We have a large range with chipping facility, 2 greens and 3 bunkers. Inside we have hitting bays with trackman, putting green and Sam’s putt lab.

What do you think of American culture?
They want to see results earlier than we do in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I had never been to America and therefore did not know what to expect. What I noticed was that everyone could suddenly talk to you there. That is not the case in the Netherlands. America just has a great vibe, everyone is much more helpful and more open and friendly.

Mayka and team – Selected to NCAA Columbus Regional

Want to see more of Mayka? She has already appeared in one of our university spotlights. Check it out here!

If you would like to learn more about Mayka’s team, take a look at her team’s roster page!

Daphne – UTC

2. Daphne van Son

University: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Conference: SoCon
Entry semester: Fall 2020

Daphne van Son and Mayka were both golf players coached by Iwan Renders at Golfton before leaving for the USA. Both left in the fall of 2020 as student-athletes. During Daphne’s youth she already won the NK Strokeplay, she participated in various international tournaments and was part of the Dutch selections. Also this year Daphne is in the Dutch selection team for Women!

After intensive years of golf in the Netherlands and a secondary diploma in her pocket, Daphne was ready for her adventure in the USA! This week we also asked Daphne to tell us about her time in America.

What makes sports and studying in America different from the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, golf cannot be combined with study. In America it is different, it is really 50/50. The attention that I put into sports and study is comparable. Teachers understand when you are away for competitions. So then we all receive extra support for our studies.

Despite golf being an individual sport, do you now feel like you are part of a team?
I really feel part of the team. It is also really a different feeling than the NGF competition gives. After all, you also do everything with your team outside of golf, which also makes it feel like a second family.

Daphne and her coach

Did you find it difficult at the beginning that your studies were in English?
In the beginning it was difficult that everything was in English. After 3 weeks I was already used to it and then you don’t even think about it anymore. Because everyone speaks in English, you start to think and dream in English. Now that I am back in the Netherlands I notice that I sometimes know a word in English, but not in Dutch!

Want to see more of Daphne’s home base in the USA? Then check this article! If you’d like to see more of Daphne’s team, check out this page on the university’s athletic webpage.

3. Hester Sicking

Hester Sicking – SDSU

University: South Dakota State University
Conference: Summit League
Entry semester: Fall 2020

In May last year, Hester signed with South Dakota State. In September the time had come: life as a student-athlete in the USA is about to begin for her. At SDSU Hester plays golf and does a major in psychology. Hester is currently 16th in the Dutch rankings and is a nice addition to the team that golfs in the Division I. The team released this article after Hester signed. Go Jacks!

How is the relationship with your team and your coach?
I have a really nice team! I get along with everyone, I get along with my coaches, but besides that it’s also a serious relationship. I also do fun things with my team such as traveling, cooking and visiting fun things. We make each other better, and we also like it when the other does well!

What do you think of American culture?
I personally think it looks a lot like the Dutch culture actually. I did notice that being on time is very important. Complaining is not appreciated at all, even if you played badly and feel a bit down.

What is the biggest difference between sports and studying in the Netherlands and in America?
Sport is much more important there. More attention is put into it and it is taken much more seriously. In my opinion, you cannot make the combination here in the Netherlands as you can make it there in America. The ability to live on campus and train and take classes on campus also makes it a lot easier. And you have a team in America, in the Netherlands you are all by yourself.

Hester and her team

What’s the craziest thing an American has said to you?
It is always asked whether Holland is a region in the Netherlands.

If you’d like to learn more about Hester and her team, check out the roster page on the university’s athletic website. Would you like to know more about the university where Hester now plays golf and studies? Then check out this university spotlight!

Jerry Ji – University of Illinois

4. Jerry Ji

University: University of Illinois
Conference: Big ten
Entry semester: Fall 2019

Jerry Ji, you’ve probably heard that name before. He is one of our slamstox golfers and has great success at the University of Illinois. But he has also won great prizes in the Netherlands, some of those prizes are: Olympic bronze, Dutch championship and participation in the KLM open. After that, Jerry decided to continue his good performance in America at the University of Illinois. And his successes didn’t stop there.

Last year he was named ‘Big Ten Freshman of the Year’, an amazing title. Too bad for us, we couldn’t ask Jerry for this interview, since he and his team are currently playing the regionals. With that, they are on their way to trying to achieve one of so many successes this year. As a team they also won the conference and four other tournaments. In addition, Jerry was named as part of the ‘Big Ten Second Team’. Sounds like a champ, right? You can see Jerry with his team in the picture below!

Men’s Golf Team – University of Illinois – Conference Champions

Want to know more about the university of which Jerry is part? Then check out this article that we wrote a year ago! You can also find more information about Jerry’s golf team on the athletic website.

Do you now think: ‘What Mayka, Daphne, Hester and Jerry do, I want that too?!’ Just reach out to us and we will discuss your options together! Or click on the button below.

Future champions start here!