Kyle Peterson didn’t play the Old Course at St. Andrews — host of a record 28 Open Championships, also known as the British Open here in the United States — but it was still St. Andrews.
“It was honestly a learning experience. Completely different golf,” Peterson said. “I’m really glad that I got exposed to it at such a young age and got to learn a different way to play golf.”
The recent Evergreen High graduate and soon-to-be golfer at Colorado Mesa represented the USA Junior National Golf team in an international Ryder Cup-like tournament against the Scottish Golf Union on June 11-12. The eight-member team played 36 holes on the Jubilee Course on June 11 — a morning round of best ball followed by eight individual matches in the afternoon. A second best ball round a day later on the Castle Course led to an 8-8 tie between the teams after the U.S. rallied from an early 3.5-0.5 deficit.
Peterson didn’t win any of his matches, dropping both best-ball contests and tying his individual match, but just the experience was well worth it.
“They were all good players. We all had the same ability. It was definitely some good matches out there,” Peterson said.
Peterson traveled to Scotland from June 8-15 as a member of the USA Junior team. He was hooked up with the team by PGA professional Steve Patterson at Hiwan Golf Club. Patterson oversees one of 16 regional sites for the junior program founded by fellow golf instructor Tom Relf of San Antonio. It was through that connection that Peterson not only got to play the Castle and Jubilee courses, but also Kingsbarns.
But it was much more than the golf; it was the culture. Peterson’s only other experience outside the U.S. was in Mexico, and he had never been overseas before. But a flight to Chicago, followed by another eight-hour flight to Scotland, made it worthwhile, especially spending a couple of extra days with his dad, Chris, including a trip to the Carnoustie Golf Links, home of seven Open Championships.
“It was learning about what people do in a different country, experiencing a new way of life and how people live,” Peterson said. “As far as golf, it was more of a learning experience and using your imagination. It was exactly, what do you have to do to play at your best no matter how hard the course is?”
The courses are set up differently, and the ball rolls out more than it does over here. When a ball lands on a green, it doesn’t spin back as much — it just keeps rolling. And the bunkers are deeper. It takes more imagination when hitting a shot overseas, Kyle Peterson said. But now, at least, it’s an experience he knows, having played there.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.