Ash Crawford will join the golf division of the University of North Texas under a scholarship program.
Ash Crawford will join the golf division of the University of North Texas under a scholarship program. The Northern Star

Ash lives the dream with US university

BEHIND the bar at night and on course each day, Byron Bay golfer Ash Crawford has been chipping away at his dream.

Shot by shot the 19-year-old has been playing for a scholarship at a university in the US since graduating from Byron Bay High School in 2006.

And after months of emails, self promotion and progress reports, it's paid off.

The Beach Hotel bartender is heading to the University of North Texas to join its golf division under a scholarship program.

"It means everything. My dream is to play golf professionally, and at the moment I live at home with my mum and travel around the country playing tournaments," Crawford said.

"In the past six weeks I've spent a week in Sydney, a week in Melbourne, a week in Adelaide and a week in Brisbane trying to gain experience playing national tournaments.

"I work 50-plus hours per week during summer to save money to travel around to these tournaments.

"If I hadn't got in, I'd still have to work a number of hours to pay for tournaments but with the scholarship I don't have to work and can just focus on the game."

After taking up golf as a 14-year-old, Crawford used to rush to the Byron Bay Golf Course for a quick hit before school.

Since graduation, he practices six hours a day and has his handicap down to two.

Fellow' golfer's idea

The idea of moving to the US came from former Byron golfer, Marco Virov, who landed a scholarship with the University of Alabama.

"Marco helped me a little bit and gave me the idea I could possibly get a scholarship so the last couple of years I've just been trying to get good enough and get the experience and sell myself to the coaches," Crawford said.

"In the US, the coaches go to junior tournaments scouting but in Australia it's a bit harder because they don't really know about us.

"You have to make up a portfolio about yourself, build rapport with the coach and let them know how you do in tournaments and you have to take their entrance exams the SATs (scholastic aptitude tests)."

The decision to play with North Texas was based on good facilities, an emerging golf program and a good vibe about the coach.

"There were about four universities I was talking to," Crawford said.

"I sent out emails to about 150 different college coaches; about 80 replied.

"Of those, there were 30 who were interested, and five who were really interested.

"I spoke to a few coaches on the phone and I like the coach from North Texas.

"The team is not one of the top 50 but it's getting there and I feel like I'd fit in there. The university has 28,000 students."

Crawford leaves in six weeks to join his brother on the US east coast where he plans to play some tournaments and hang out until classes start in mid-August.

"The scholarship gives me the best opportunity to get the most out of my game," he said.

"In college you're playing against the next best players in the world, week in week out.

"There's probably about 10 guys on the team and we travel around the country representing the school.

"I'm loving it.

"It's a dream come true."

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