CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This past winter break, the Harvard men's golf team embarked on the experience of a lifetime, playing on some of the world's best golf courses and immersing themselves in the culture of Australia and New Zealand for 12 days.
Upon their return, the players reflected on their experiences and how fortunate they were to be able to take a trip like this as members of the Harvard golf team. Below, find entries recounting each day the team was abroad.
Opening Thoughts – Greg Royston '18
From South Africa on Christmas night it dawned on me that the time for our highly anticipated 'international trip' had arrived. Similarly, each of the players and coaches of Harvard Men's Golf were preparing to travel from their homes in the US and Belgium to Melbourne the following day with visions of what was to come.
This was to be our team's version of the trip that I learned about on my first visit to Harvard in 2014. The team members at the time were reveling in months-old memories from their excursion. Between then and now, four years of stories have created sky-high expectations for those of us fortunate to be traveling this time round.
The list of courses on the agenda for the trip can only be described as an 'embarrassment of riches'. We are forever indebted to our hosts mentioned herein who made this all possible. Of special note is Pierre Bechmann. When Aurian Capart '19 mentioned our trip to Pierre, he contacted Richard Allen and Sandy Dawson, both of whom, with seeming ease and tremendous grace, made it all happen. We are forever indebted to Pierre, Richard and Sandy. Thanks to them and their well-earned reputation in golf circles, following is a listing of the courses we played that are ranked in the "Top 100 in the World" by Golf Digest:
|Royal Melbourne - East||Dec. 29||#55|
|Royal Melbourne - West||Dec. 29||#6|
|Kingston Heath||Dec. 31||#18|
|New South Wales||Jan. 1||#30|
|Kauri Cliffs||Jan. 5||#49|
|Tara Iti||Jan. 6-7||#29 (Golf)|
Looking back on our adventure, it strikes me that the experience surpassed even my wildest imagination cultivated by the long-lived anecdotes of past trips. The courses were amazing on their own and made so much more memorable by the people we met who gave of themselves on our behalf. The warmth, hospitality and camaraderie in golf we experienced via our hosts made the two weeks truly remarkable.
The following recap cannot fully capture the memories made, nor the extraordinary hospitality we received at every course we visited. Nonetheless, my teammates and I hope it can give a sense of some of those moments, and allow us to express some of the gratitude we feel towards those who made it possible – especially the Friends of Harvard Golf whose financial support creates the opportunity for such a trip, and the club members who hosted us. To each of you: thank you for helping make this one of the best experiences of our lives.
December 28, 2017 – Greg Royston '18
If any city wished to proclaim itself 'Sports Capital of the World,' it would first need to prove worthier than Melbourne. It is home to some of the world's premiere sporting events and venues, including Formula 1, cricket, golf and Aussie Rules Football. Some of you may be watching the Australian Open tennis matches which are taking place now in Melbourne. During our time in Melbourne, we learned of the breadth and depth of world-class golf courses within an easy drive of the city. Yet, none of us expected our first encounter to be a sport we had never heard of. While the Americans had much to learn about cricket, the decidedly less well-known sport we viewed upon arrival was 'real tennis,' the world's oldest racket sport.
The plan for the day was to view the Boxing Day Ashes cricket match that afternoon at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (the "MCG"). We had arranged to meet our hosts– Richard Allen and Craig Williams – at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club which is convenient to the MCG. At the tennis club, our hosts introduced us to 'real tennis', which, as we learned, originated in France when it was a monarchy. Sometimes called "court tennis" or "royal tennis", the game is limited to play on the approximately 40 courts located in Australia, the UK, France and the United States. The sport is played on an indoor court with rules similar to 'lawn' tennis, though more complex, and a configuration that is likely to confound the untrained eye! Seemingly every part of the room is in play. The window on the far end is a target to win a point. The opening between the 4th and 5th column is also a way to score. Etc. The team members were lucky to witness a young, up-and-coming player training with one of the world's best players. We also learned that one of the few real tennis courts in the world is in Boston.
Following the pleasantly surprising introduction to real tennis, the players, coaches and their hosts walked the short distance to the MCG to experience cricket – a sport that might be as confusing to most Americans as real tennis was to our group. Fortunately, Greg and Rij were able to share their knowledge of cricket with team members during travel.
Like taking someone who knows nothing about baseball to see a World Series game, the novices in our group gained their introduction to cricket via one of the most celebrated events in the game – the Ashes Boxing Day Test Match. This event pits England against Australia and only occurs in Australia (and at the MCG) every four years. Impressed by the large, modern, comfortable facility, the team members were intrigued to learn that the MCG is more well known in Australia for Aussie Rules Football than for cricket. The team members enjoyed the match, and, thanks to Richard and Craig, were able to experience the exclusive Long Room of the Melbourne Cricket Club. As was fitting for the day, our hosts arranged for a taste of typical Australian 'cricket food' in the form of meat pies for lunch. We witnessed a bit of cricket history as the #1 batter for England, Alastair Cook, scored 244 ("an unbeaten double century"; "the tourists piled on 491 for nine at stumps", etc.) runs by batting for two full days; a new record number of runs scored by any foreign cricketer on Australian soil.
In addition to fully appreciating the new experiences in a foreign land, the team members were even more grateful for the graciousness and hospitality shown by our hosts – Richard and Craig. They set an amazing example for us to emulate in our lives.
As could be expected after the travel and full day of real tennis and cricket, "the tourists piled into bed at nine . . ."
December 29, 2017 – Aurian Capart '19
Royal Melbourne East Course | Royal Melbourne West Course
The prospect of playing a course ranked as the sixth best in the world will get any golfer out of bed – even college students suffering from jet lag. The ambitious plan for the day included four-ball matches against an experienced Royal Melbourne team in the morning on the East course followed by four-balls in the afternoon on the West course. The forecast claimed a chance of rain throughout the day so team members left the hotel hoping for sun.
Both courses at Royal Melbourne are deserving of their world renown. The West course, designed by Alistair Mackenzie typically finds itself in the top 10 of "best in the world" rankings while the East course provides plenty of challenge and is usually in the top 100 in the world. Like the Open / Championship layout at The Country Club, Royal Melbourne uses a composite layout – 12 holes from the West and 6 holes from the East – for most of its high-profile competitions. This composite layout will be used for the President's Cup which will be contested at Royal Melbourne in 2019.
We were thrilled to see our new friends – Richard and Craig – early in the morning on the range and they introduced us to their six teammates for the day; all of whom proved to be as kind, thoughtful and giving as Richard and Craig. Are all Australians this nice?
No rain in the morning. While team members were gathering their legs from the trip, they were getting all the competition they wanted from the hosts. The morning matches ended up in favor of Royal Melbourne: 3-1 at lunch. Only H-Golf assistant coach Mike Fucito '09 and captain Greg Royston '18 came out in the win column for the Crimson. Greg ended with a flourish -- birdie-birdie on 16 and 17 to help his pairing win 2&1. It was especially impressive as he holed a 35-footer downhill, swinging left to right, on 16 while the match was still square. The rest of the Harvard pairings lost close matches on 17 and 18.
After providing us with a hearty and delicious lunch in the beautiful clubhouse our hosts called us out to battle for the afternoon with the Harvard team hoping for a stronger showing. Weather won the afternoon round. Heavy rain led to the unplayable conditions. The Royal Melbourne and Harvard teams headed to the clubhouse after a few holes to share a barbecue.
Both the food and the courses were truly amazing, and it was unfortunate that we could not end such an enjoyable and competitive match. The stellar play and obvious camaraderie of the 'more mature' hosts was a nice reminder to our team members of the benefits golf can provide beyond college and/or professional play.
In just one of many, many examples of the incredible hospitality we were shown at Royal Melbourne, the members organized for us to come back the next morning to complete our West Course experience. Richard, Craig and their friends were incredibly kind to us for two days. To make such an accommodation for our team to play this prestigious course . . . after hosting us at cricket and for a full day of golf; we were blown away and left speechless. We expect to 'pay it forward' and hope a return match will one day be possible. The atmosphere between the two teams was incredible.
Following dinner, Richard Allen proved that his capacity for giving was infinite when he provided each of us a copy of his book The Spirit of Golf, a nice companion for our trip and remembrance after. I highly recommend it.
The trip could not have started in better fashion and although the weather didn't fully cooperate, it was one heck of an experience. Thank you to the Royal Melbourne members that took the time to play with us. A special thank you to Richard Allen who made all arrangements and showed us an amazing time in Melbourne by giving us the opportunity to watch the Ashes and play the best course in Australia. And, we are eternally grateful to the hospitality and generosity shown by Royal Melbourne and its members in so many ways throughout the day.
December 30, 2017 – Rij Patel '20
Royal Melbourne West Course | Metropolitan Golf Club
Much to everyone's excitement, the second day was to include finishing our round at the Royal Melbourne West Course as well as playing at the Metropolitan Golf Club, host of the upcoming 2018 World Cup of Golf.
For the morning round, we were joined by our host, Craig Williams who can deliver an easy-looking even-par round without a warmup. Word has it that he doesn't know where the practice range is.
Thanks to a sunny morning, the team was able to experience the West Course in incredible shape and perfect weather. Post-round comments were focused on the MacKenzie design which is magnificent. Friendly arguments ensued over which hole was the favorite and best design. The four holes from #4 to #7 were mentioned frequently. Watching the President's Cup will surely bring back great memories.
In the afternoon, the team arrived at the Metropolitan Golf Club to share a nice lunch with our hosts and playing partners for the day. Metropolitan is known to be the home course of some of the best amateur players in Australia and we knew we would see some great golf in the afternoon.
The beautiful afternoon led to competitive matches and strong performances from both sides. The course hallmarks demanding par 3's with bunkers that are cut with sharp edges around the firm greens, sucking in poorly struck or over curved balls.
The beginning of the round featured winds and intermittent rain that sent players scrambling under trees with towels on their heads. After only 10 minutes of rain, the bright sun came out and warmed the remainder of the day. Sunblock was applied, and birdies soon followed.
The matches were very close, but the formidable members of the Metropolitan golf club pulled through with 6 victories and 2 halves in the singles matches. We look forward to watching the World Cup on TV and re-living the day and great golf course.
We would like to thank our generous hosts Ben Jarvis, Ross Anderson and Jay Bethell for arranging the match, and the members of Metropolitan Golf Club for generously hosting us on their beautiful course. As we found repeatedly during the trip, playing great courses is fun, but experiencing those courses with the members is far better! Especially when treated so kindly.
December 31, 2017 – Grant Fairbairn '21
Kingston Heath Golf Club | Sydney, Australia
The team woke up on December 31 ready for a long, memorable day with excitement for one of the most anticipated experiences of their lives.
The day began with a beautiful early morning round at Kingston Heath Golf Club, ranked 18th in the world. Matthew Mckenna was our kind and generous host for the day at a course deserving of its many and high accolades. Matthew was kind enough to organize a match against some of the best golfers at the club; including the newest 'cadet member', Matthew's son George.
The Harvard Men's team was paired off with the Kingston Heath members in a four-ball matches. Kingston Heath's engaging layout was everything and more than we expected while the company of the members and strong play in the matches made the morning truly spectacular.
A highlight of the golf that day came from Fred Schernecker on the 15th hole, a tough uphill par 3 with no room to miss on the left. Fred found his second short short-sided, 30 yards left of the green. With no fear in his heart, he took a big swing at the ball, hoisting it straight up in the air and landing gently on the ten feet of green he had to work with. He subsequently made an impressive putt for par and with it, proved all statistical predictions incorrect! It wasn't enough, however, as George McKenna's tap-in birdie on the front nine and long birdie putt on ten had led to an insurmountable lead that withstood the late charge.
With all the matches finished, we were treated to a scrumptious lunch while sharing highlights of the day with our playing partners. The group picture memorialized the amazing experience. Sorry to cut the experience short, the team suited up to catch a plane to Sydney.
Sydney is an easy hour and a half flight from Melbourne allowing for the round at Kingston Heath, efficient travel and time to arrive in Sydney for the New Year's Eve festivities. Little known fact – the island of Tonga is the first country to ring in the New Year; 3 hours ahead of Sydney. But Sydney is the first major city to celebrate the changing of the calendar and boasts a much-heralded celebration on Sydney Harbor. Additionally, a special treat awaited. The team had obtained passes to see the fireworks from the grounds of the famous Opera House – the best possible viewing location for the display.
Putting their education and varying levels of 'street smarts' to good use, the team members navigated the special New Year's Eve hours and routes for the bus and train. Then they set to the streets for the walking route while dealing with numerous road closures. The streets of Sydney were buzzing with excitement and energy. Hundreds (thousands?) of boats floated on Sydney Harbor. Over a million people were taking in the action live and it is estimated that over a billion people watch the Sydney Harbor fireworks on TV.
The players and coaches were all still taking it in when the show began. Everyone huddled to the railings along the water and held their breath. 3!… 2!… 1!… Fireworks burst over the Sydney Harbor Bridge in sync with loud music. People embraced each other all around; the moment completely exceeding all expectations (despite how high they were going into the night). We could not have asked for a better start to 2018 than this remarkable experience.
January 1, 2018 – Peter George '21
New South Wales Golf Club
Still riding high from the excitement of New Year's Eve the night before, the team made their way to New South Wales Golf Club. The uphill entrance drive is surrounded by sand and gorse bushes and we imagined we were in the outback despite being only 30 minutes from downtown Sydney. Upon arrival, we were taken with the views of the Sydney city and bay, and of the spectacular looking course. More 'wows' to come as we hadn't even see the holes on the sea yet!
We were all grateful for the impressive buffet lunch spread put on by the club and arranged by our host, Phil Bannister. During lunch we got to know and hear from our hosts that included a couple of younger members – Harry and Jess. We were once again shown remarkable hospitality, enjoying both a delicious barbecue before the round and wonderful camaraderie on the course. We were especially grateful to Phil making the effort to be there after a late night on New Year's Eve. The lack of sleep didn't appear to affect Phil's play as he proceeded to hit most of the fairways and greens while generously sharing the highlights of the course architecture and history. Impressive hosting!
New South Wales is a design deserving of its ranking as #30 in the world. Fortunately, each group had a member guide to provide the required local knowledge that was helpful on every hole. The blind shots, heavily undulating fairways and strategic design required more than the typical level of strategy. On the third hole, Harry told our group that the ideal shot was to start it over the brush and draw it seemingly farther into the thicket. Although skeptical, each of us followed his guidance and hit balls that we were sure would donated to the terrain. Upon climbing to the crest of the hill in front of the tee, we found the drives in the middle of the sharp dog-legged fairway. Thanks Harry!
There were many true pot bunkers and the greens were firm, making approach shorts difficult to judge. Despite all these factors, the primary challenge was the gusting wind that whipped across the treeless landscape. Any off-line shot was sure to be blown into hazards close (or not so close) to greens and fairways. We experienced a few great pars and a few more lost golf balls. After the round we retreated to the clubhouse for snacks and to enjoy each other's company for a little longer.
Dinner in Sydney provided an opportunity to share pictures and videos of the previous night ensuring everyone would have the great memories (and great laughs) forever.
January 2, 2018 – Ryan Rhee '20
The Australian Golf Club
The Australian Golf Club is in the shadow of the city and one of the oldest clubs in Australia. Many of the team members enjoyed a preview of the course by watching the Australian Open on TV in December. In spite of some maintenance following the Australian Open, the course was in pristine condition. The sun was shining, and the gentle breeze provided an ideal temperature. The coaches had seen the course four years prior and remarked on how well the course had matured after an extensive and successful re-design.
Grant Fairbairn '21 had an noteworthy match against one of the opposing team's best players. After an impressive par save on the 1st, Fairbairn birdied the 2nd to go 1 up. He continued the consistent play to bring himself 2-up after nine holes. Possibly inspired by the New Year's Eve show on Sydney Harbor, Fairbairn displayed some fireworks to go 3-up as a result of back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th. An inspired finish by Grant's opponent left the match all square.
Rij Patel '20 also had a great round with the highlight of his day coming on the 7th hole. According to Patel: "I was plugged in the face of the bunker and could only see a quarter of the golf ball. I splashed it out and made a 30-footer for par to win the hole!"
Harvard fought valiantly against their strong opponents. The final result showed Harvard's 3 and 1/2 points just shy of The Australian's 4 and 1/2 points. Despite narrowly coming short, the boys enjoyed the layout of the golf course and the conversations with their playing partners. Afterwards, the two teams shared food and laughs over another fantastic barbecue lunch.
A memorable moment was produced on the first tee. Aurian Capart had recently broken his driver and was using a driver borrowed from Greg Royston. With his opening swing, the driver head flew off, leaving the four-ball stunned. The generous staff at the Australian lent Aurian a driver for the day. Perhaps knowing Capart's recent driver history, they subsequently sold the driver to Capart for a reasonable price.
With an un-planned afternoon at their disposal, team members decided to visit the famous Bondi Beach. The boys and coaches took the chance to swim and explore the coastline. It was a great way to unwind after a lot of golf.
Special thanks to our hosts at The Australian Golf Club. Stuart Cox and Andrew Hunter went out of their way to plan a wonderful day of golf. The members and staff of The Australian Golf Club were kind and generous to open their golf course to us we appreciate their gracious hospitality. Having the opportunity to make a more personal connection with the members and join them in competition and conversation is what made the day truly special.
January 3, 2018 – Rij Patel '20
Royal Sydney Golf Club
The team arrived at Royal Sydney to a warm welcome from hosts Sandy Dawson and Ivan Haege. Treated kindly by the club to a breakfast of croissants, pastries, and fruits, we then took to the course and played Stableford matches against Royal Sydney's members and professionals.
Royal Sydney features a traditional layout with firm greens and heavily bunkered fairways. The opening six holes are challenging; especially with the strong wind. In spite of on-and-off showers, the team had another exceptional day thanks to our generous and gracious hosts.
Excitement came in the headline match, with captain Greg Royston and assistant coach Mike Fucito playing against former European Tour winner and current European Senior Tour professional, Peter O'Malley, and the current club champion, Adam Cornell. At 2-down with 2 to play, the Harvard side needed to make something happen. On cue, Fucito fired a 4-iron from 210 yards, into the howling wind. The ball settled six feet from the tucked pin. Peter O'Malley, having seen it all before, calmly nudged his approach inside of Fucito. Although Fucito produced the birdie required, O'Malley provided the clutch response to end the match.
As we learned over and over throughout the trip, the camaraderie in golf takes a fun day on a beautiful course to new heights. Such was the experience playing and then lunching with our playing partners. We were grateful for the excellent food while soaking up stories of former Australian Opens hosted at Royal Sydney. The members shared memories of standing on the clubhouse balcony watching as matches and tournaments were decided on the tight, challenging dogleg left 18th hole. Rory McIlroy defeated Adam Scott after a dramatic change of events. Jordan Spieth earned a victory in 2016. O'Malley and Cornell defeated Fucito and Royston.
The team members were floored by the hospitality shown to them by Sandy Dawson, Ivan Haege and the members of Royal Sydney. Notably, Sandy was instrumental in the planning of the trip and connecting us with other hosts. Even with the unrivaled quality of the courses played in Melbourne and Sydney, the team left Australia remembering the camaraderie, kindness shown and friendship in golf as the best part of the trip.
The day ended with an evening of travel as the players and coaches flew to Auckland and then drove to the town of KeriKeri in preparation for the experiences to come on the North Island of New Zealand.
January 4, 2018 – Rij Patel '20
North Island, New Zealand
After a late-night arrival on the back of a long day of travel, the boys enjoyed a nice morning of team-cooked breakfast. Unfortunately, the Bay of Islands cruise and swimming with dolphins experience the team had planned was cancelled due to heavy rain and winds.
After breakfast, the team made best use of the day and the foul weather by exploring the towns of KeriKeri and Waitangi. While at KeriKeri, they visited the beaches, holding their umbrellas tight. At Waitangi, the boys and coaches enjoyed dinner at "Good George's", where they cooked their own lamb, beef, and venison on sizzling hot stones.
After returning to the rented house, the team continued to be thwarted by the weather in the form of a power outage. Cards were played by candlelight and the house was lit up by laughter.
January 5, 2018 – Peter George '21
Part of the allure and benefit of the international trip is the shared experience and team bonding that occurs as a result. Seemingly mundane activities are filled with meaning and etched in the positive memory of the overall experience – eating breakfast together; Kevin cooking bacon and Greg making eggs; everyone chipping in by cleaning the dishes and doing other chores. We are a team.
After a day off from golf, we were ready to experience Kauri Cliffs. On arrival, we were struck by the rolling hills and valleys that flow into the beautiful bay. The front nine slithered through tropical rainforest with the back nine emerging onto the crest of a hill with breathtaking views above cliffs and of the many small (and spectacular) islands in the bay. On the few occasions that the sun peaked through the clouds, small rays falling on the bay and its islands took the beauty to a new level, one of the most magnificent sights the team had ever seen.
Within one hole of teeing off, rain arrived in sheets, driven in sideways by the gusting winds. By the third hole everyone and everything was soaked through. Fortunately, that stretch was the worst weather of the day. The 2-5 club winds continued, and rain was on and off for much of the rest of the day. Given the conditions, Aurian produced one of the rounds of the tour – a 3-over 75.
After a meal in the cozy dining room of the Kauri Cliffs clubhouse, we set off for the afternoon round. The first match featured Grant / Ryan playing against Rij / Peter. Ryan and Grant held on for a 3&2 victory over a charging Rij and Peter in spite of Rij birdieing four of the last six holes. That four-ball was followed by the highly anticipated match between Mike / Aurian versus Kevin / Greg. Greg and Kevin dispatched Aurian and Mike 3&2, highlighted by excellent putting.
We left exhausted but content with an incredible day of golf and sights.
January 6, 2018 – Grant Fairbairn '21
Tara Iti Golf Club
The players left Kerikeri filled with anticipation for their first round at one of the most talked about and difficult to access golf courses in the world – Tara Iti. Designed by Tom Doak, the course opened in 2015 and is already thought by many to be the best course in New Zealand. Many golfers encountered in Australia lauded both its brilliant design and setting. In its inaugural ranking of the course, Golf Digest placed Tara Iti 6th in the world outside of America.
It was a beautiful drive through the New Zealand countryside filled with breath-taking views, grazing animals, and rainbows. Upon arrival, we were struck by the beauty of the setting and the high standard of the facilities. Before playing, the team was given a quick tour including the club fitting area, the locker rooms, an outdoor yoga deck, and the helicopter landing pad. While these facilities were impressive, the best was yet to come.
After warming up, the boys and coaches went off in groups of four. While the players are always competitive with each other in their four-balls, the matches were largely in the back of their minds as they absorbed every aspect of one of the best golf courses any of them had played. Each hole is demanding yet fair, and the views are crafted beautifully to showcase the amazing environment. The beach is adjacent to the course and the remainder of the land is surrounded by a majestic pine forest. The spectacular view out to the crystal blue and green sea is highlighted by islands pockmarking the bay.
We were awed by the scenery and the quality of the golf course in this once-in-a-lifetime experience . . . that we would be blessed to repeat again the following day.
Thank you to Harvard Women's Golf captain, Lita Guo '18, and her beyond-generous family, who made this truly unbelievable experience possible.
January 7, 2018 – Ryan Rhee '20
Tara Iti Golf Club
The penultimate day of the trip may have also been the ultimate day of golf for many team members. Thirty-six holes at a course many would consider the best they've ever played – Tara Iti. After taking in the breathtaking views and getting a feel for the course the day before, the boys were ready to score. Lots of great shots were struck and the matches ran close.
The morning pairing of coaches Kevin Rhoads and Mike Fucito with Greg Royston '18 and Aurian Capart '19 featured 16 birdies. In the AM round, three team members – Royston, Capart and Ryan Rhee – posted scores below 70. Given the ten rounds played over the past nine days, it was not surprising that the team members looked sharp.
After the first eighteen holes, the boys enjoyed lunch overlooking the course with Harvard Women's Golf captain Lita Guo '18 and her parents Michael and Connie Guo.
The second eighteen holes was highlighted by an intense match between Rij Patel '20 and Grant Fairbairn '21 versus Greg Royston '18 and Peter George '21. Fairbairn made 3 birdies to keep his team close at 'one down' after the front nine, and brought the match to all square through 10. Brilliant play by George led his team to 2-up on the 17th tee. Patel and Fairbairn rallied to win 17 to keep the match alive. Patel had a 12-footer to square the match, but his putt narrowly lipped out.
Scattered throughout the competition were lots of laughs and great conversations. The team is playing well and looking forward to gearing up for the spring season.
We would like to thank Michael and Connie Guo for hosting us and for their generous hospitality. Tara Iti was a favorite course for several team members during this trip. This opportunity would not have been possible without the time, effort and support of the Guo family.
January 8, 2017 – Greg Royston '18
This their final morning, the team woke early to fit in a quick trip to a beach in the nearby town of Omaha. Spending the last morning in glorious weather at a spectacular setting was a fitting close for two weeks that will live forever in our memories.
This was one of the greatest experiences that any of us have had. I can't imagine what can or will surpass it in the future. Compiling this recap has afforded me the joy of reliving each of the days of the trip. It is still sinking in. We simply cannot say thank you enough to everyone involved.