A look inside the Illini’s golf bag
April 16, 2018
According to the United States Golf Association, a golfer can carry a maximum of 14 clubs in their bag at any given time.
Along with those clubs, there are often a number of other objects that players may need during an 18-hole meet — golf balls, tees, ball markers, scorecards, yardage books and occasionally even a snack or two. Add to that an umbrella or a wet weather suit, and the average golf bag weighs somewhere between 25 to 30 pounds.
A skilled golfer needs to have a good understanding of each club in his or her bag to compete at the highest level. Every course is different, and golfers must be flexible with their game and club selection.
Currently, most of the Illinois women’s golf team play with some model of Callaway clubs, including senior Dana Gattone.
“I play all Callaway clubs, which is pretty rare to play all one brand, but my swing coach at home got me into those, so I’ve stuck with them ever since,” Gattone said.
Like many athletes in other sports, golfers don’t shy away from using their equipment to express themselves. Whether through a club cover or a stamping on their wedges or putters, the Illini try to find a way to show off their personality through their clubs.
Senior Pailin Ruttanasupagid is especially proud of the customization on her putter.
“I got this my freshman year; it’s an Edel putter with my name on it,” Ruttanasupagid said. “They painted my name pink and the little dots pink and I got my grip pink too; it’s my favorite color. I don’t think I’m going to switch anytime soon because it’s a personalized putter, so it’s fixed to the way my eyes work when I look at the line and stuff like that.”
Often, players can find themselves competing against nature as often as their opponents. Inclimate weather, unpredictable temperatures, wildlife and insects all can have an effect on a player’s game. With that being said, senior Grace Park always makes sure to carry “After Bite” in her bag.
Sophomore Tristyn Nowlin also keeps mother nature in mind when she hits the course.
“I’m from Kentucky; I’m extremely fair-skinned, so I have a ton of sunscreen,” Nowlin said. “100+ SPF. That’s something that I always have to carry with me.”
Lastly, the more unique aspects of the Illini’s golf bags carry important memories from home to remind them of why they play.
Nowlin has a prized club cover from the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, where she saw her favorite golfer, Jordan Spieth, compete.
Senior Chayanid Prapassarangkul always has both a photo of her and her mom and a tiger charm from her caddy back in her home country of Thailand as well.
Freshman Ali Morallos also carries a touching piece of home with her on the course.
“I have this bracelet,” Morallos said. “There was this kid who went to my high school; he was on the golf team for a little bit, but then he had leukemia and passed away, but I still keep the wristband on my golf bag.”