Natalia Asensio is one of seven outstanding student-athletes on the UNCG women’s golf team. Hailing originally from Madrid, Spain, Natalia first came to the USA to play golf when she was fifteen-years-old. Playing for Ravenwood High School in Tennessee for a season, she finished first in the regional and district and went on to qualify for the state championships.
At UNCG, Natalia has done exceedingly well, with her most recent season having a stroke average of 76.13. For the uninitiated (including the writer, who did some research), a par for the course is 72. Lower is better. Not only does Natalia do well on the course, but off the course as well.
Recently, Natalia was inducted into the UNCG Golden Chain Honor Society. The society runs by nomination, and the nominee must have at least a 3.25 GPA and be a junior or a senior.
It’s a huge honor, and Natalia, while exceedingly humble, knows it. “I’m really grateful, it’s really nice when they [the University] recognize you for your efforts especially with the university and the things that I do here.” she stated.
That may be an understatement. The women’s golf team travels Friday to Tuesday usually every week in the season. This leaves scant time for academics, not to mention a nonexistent social life.
“Yeah, we really don’t have much of a social life during the season,” she said. “We usually just have each other.” It’s ironic that the golf team doesn’t get to go clubbing, to be honest.
When asked what her favorite course to play on is, Natalia’s answer was surprising. “My favorite course…oh..that..would be Arizona. I love that course, the way it looks…it’s shorter. It is fun to play.” Some may be shocked to find that grass even grew in Arizona, but Natalia, chuckling, was quick to clarify that Arizona’s grass is actually greener than North Carolina’s.
The conversation then changed to Natalia’s season. “Our fall season was really good. We did really well and we broke a lot of records.” She paused. “But our spring season…well, we’ve been struggling a lot with injuries and the weather. The weather was really bad to us.”
Though golf may seem like a low impact sport, it can take a toll on the athletes who play. Natalia then discussed some of the injuries that one could accumulate playing golf.
“Wrists, elbows, arms and shoulders,” she said. “Things like that, it can take its toll on your body.”
When asked about her own season, Natalia said that it hadn’t been as good for her as well.
“It’s just been a lot.” The weariness was evident in her eyes. At this point in the semester though, who isn’t a little tired?
Being from Europe, Asensio had plenty to say when asked about her journey to America and how it differed from Spain. “Everyone was so nice when I came here, I love it, but there is a lot different. Like the food.”
When asked if there was anything that she wanted the students and alumni to know about UNCG women’s golf or her, and she stated, “I want them to know there IS a team” she interrupted this statement with a laugh. “I’m sorry, we just joke all the time about not being a team.”
The women’s golf team will finish up their season on April 17 at Hilton Head, South Carolina.