Royal & Ancient: Simon Fraser Experiences Birthplace Of Golf
During their trip, Simon Fraser played all of St. Andrews renowned courses with the except the Old Course. Photo by Belinda Lin.
During their trip, Simon Fraser played all of St. Andrews renowned courses with the except the Old Course. Photo by Belinda Lin.

Friday, September 13, 2019
by Steve Frost, Simon Fraser Athletic Communications

ST. ANDREWS, United Kingdom - Simon Fraser University men’s golf team enjoyed a trip of a lifetime to Scotland to play many of the historic golf courses and to compete in the Stirling International against schools from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and Belgium.

“Our ties to Scotland run deep, most notably by the namesake of our institution, Simon Fraser, and our legendary coach John Buchanan,” said golf coach Matthew Steinbach.  “Visiting St. Andrews is on every golfer’s bucket list and to be given the opportunity to travel to Scotland while representing your University and country is a privilege.  I know our men’s team is grateful for the opportunity to visit the birthplace of the royal and ancient game, but I also know the scope and scale of this trip won’t hit them until later in life.”

The team played six full days of golf and had a chance to play all the historic golf courses in St. Andrews (except for the Old Course).  The list of courses included The New Course (built in 1895), The Jubilee Course (built in 1897), The Eden Course and the Castle Course.

The team competed in the Royal & Ancient and British Universities & Colleges Sport co-sanctioned event, The Stirling International, against 20 international teams on the Fairmont St. Andrews Torrance Course and finished fourth.  Freshman Michael Crisologo finished tied for seventh and sophomore Ryan Stolys finished tied for 14th.

“I’m happy with the team’s fourth-place finish, but most importantly, I’m proud of how our players carried themselves over three long tournament days,” said Steinbach. “We held our own with the local teams and proved that we belonged in such a strong tournament.  As a WAGR (World Amateur Golf Ranking) D event – this is the highest level of competition we will see during our regular season.”

It was a jam-packed six days in St. Andrews and the team was fortunate to receive true Scottish weather with heavy winds and rain on most days.  From a player development standpoint, the links-style of golf course partnered with the weather posed unique challenges not commonly found in North America.  It was impressive to see SFU players adapt to links golf by lowering ball flights and learning to play the ball on the ground.

Steinbach is starting a new tradition for golf at SFU.  Beginning this year, the program will alternate between men’s and women’s teams visiting Scotland on a two-year cycle.  This means that all SFU golfers will have a chance to visit the “Home of Golf” in their four years at SFU.

“I look forward to taking what I learned from the trip this year and building an even greater experience in 2021 with our women’s team,” explained Steinbach. “We will look to partner with our program boosters and the larger SFU golf family.”