10 Valley high school golfers prepare to compete in Scotland

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This is the famous 17th bunker at St. Andrews. (Source: CBS Sports) This is the famous 17th bunker at St. Andrews. (Source: CBS Sports)

“The experience,” said Zach Erskine. “The experience is what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Erskine, a sophomore at Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe certainly speaks for the entire group. He’s one of 10 hand-picked high school golfers chosen to represent Arizona at the Junior Golf Invitational held next week in Scotland.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity,” said Wade Klein, a senior at Mesquite High. “We’re going to be able to play some of the most historic courses in the world.”

Klein and his teammates will play 10-plus rounds in the country considered to be the "birthplace of golf." Among the courses the Arizona team will play will be legendary St. Andrews.

"Tiger Woods has been there,” said Davis Campbell, a junior at Shadow Mountain High. “Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer – I mean all the greats. To be able to play there with this team, representing Arizona, my country and my school, it’ll just be a great experience.”

St. Andrew’s is known for many legendary holes but perhaps none as treacherous as the famed 17th where the infamous road hole bunker looms, protecting the green. Since a golfer may only have the opportunity to play St. Andrew’s once in his or her life, might one want the “opportunity” to try and hit it out of the most famed bunker in the history of the sport?

“Yeah, I hope I don’t hit in the bunker there,” said a smiling Klein. “But I do, well, then that’s an experience I can have!”

Brian Volmer, the head golf coach at Anthem, will lead the lead team overseas. Volmer’s been golfing in Scotland for 27 years and he knows this experience for 10 high school golfers extends far beyond the golf course.

“Their parents and most of the people they know, they don’t know anybody outside our country,” said Volmer. “They’re going to leave here with 18

 to 20 friends in Scotland.”

The Arizona team will compete against six golfing clubs in Scotland – all founded at least over a hundred years ago. The Crail Golfing Society Junior Team was founded in 1786.

“The clubs welcome us,” said Volmer. “The courses welcome us and we go have a blast.”

Volmer’s son Aiden, a sophomore at Boulder Creek High made the trip with the Arizona team in 2016.

“It’s an honor to be able to play over there,” said Aiden. “To be able to play some of the best courses in the world and meet some great people.”

The golfers were chosen not only for their ability on the golf course but their character and performance in the classroom.

“We have a heck of a group out here this year,” said Brian. "They’re all good students. They were all nominated by their high school coach and I just can’t wait to get the wheels off the ground.”

The team departs Thursday, June 1. They’ll play their first match on June 2.

People can follow the team’s results at www.juniorgolfinvitational.com.

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