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Club golf gaining momentum

Lisa Beth Earle | The Daily Wildcat Lisa Beth Earle /Arizona Daily Wildcat UA golf club members Samuel Angart, left, a material sciences and engineering freshman and Alex Chiya, an aerospace engineering freshman, practice their swings at The Practice Tee on Tuesday, April 27.

James Samuelsen and his buddies were left disappointed last fall after discovering that the Arizona golf team wouldn't be holding tryouts.

Little did Samuelson know that the lack of tryouts would lead him to form the Arizona Golf Club, which will host its first tournament this Saturday at the Arizona National Golf Club.

""There were a lot people who wanted to play golf and had no one to do it with,"" said Samuelsen, a finance sophomore. ""I brought up the idea of a sports club, and they all had complete support of it. I thought it would be a really good way to organize the people who played in high school and competitively that didn't want (or couldn't play on the team).""

And so Arizona club golf was born.

Since its inception, membership has extended beyond just his friends, as Samuelsen did his best to promote interest in the club.

""I'd come to (any) golf course and walk up to somebody who looked like a college student, or who wore UA stuff, and asked if they wanted to be a part of the club,"" he said.

While walking up to random strangers worked for Samuelsen, current club members, such as engineering freshman Sam Angart, found him.

""When I came to this school I was looking for a golf club,"" said Angart, who found out about the club on the ASUA website. ""I played tons of golf in high school. I really love golf, but I'm here for school.""

While Angart had no intentions of joining the men's golf team, fellow club member Josalyn Warfield fully intended on joining the women's team, but head coach Shelly Haywood was not taking walk-ons.

Like Angart, Warfield played competitively in high school and was looking to stay competitive in college.

""It's cool to play other people who share that (competitive) mentality and don't come out here to mess around,"" said Warfield. ""It's an individual sport. You're in charge of how you play.""

While Warfield is enjoying the competitive atmosphere, club golf is also about ""meeting new people who play golf.""

For Samuelsen, who was introduced to golf by his father at age 3, the game will always mean something to him.

""You're out there alone, and you've got to make it happen yourself,"" he said. ""It's very hard to do, but when you do, it's a great feeling.""

The expansion of the club is a warm welcome given the work it has taken to get the club where it is today. 

""It's been demanding and at times frustrating, with trying to organize things, but overall it's been a great experience,"" Samuelsen said. ""I see good things in the future.""

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Updated September 25, 2020