After redshirting her first year at UVA, Haeley Wotnosky played in all six tournaments for the Cavaliers last season before the campaign ended early due to the COVID-19 outbreak. She shares her thoughts on that season and updates Hoos Life and talks about her stay-at-home routine.
Q: Did you watch any of the charity matches and what did you think of the format? Did it sort of remind you of college golf; the pros in shorts carrying their own bags, no huge galleries.
Wotnosky: I did watch the match! It was really fun to see them caddy for themselves like we do in junior and collegiate golf. There was definitely a more relaxed atmosphere which made me feel like I was watching my friends or teammates play for practice. The format allowed a closer look into their personalities and their relationship with the game. I also thought it could’ve been cool if women were included in the match and we were able to see a more casual side of their personalities.
Q: Have you done anything interesting in terms of family activities while you’ve been home?
Wotnosky: In the beginning of quarantine we did a lot of outdoor projects together as a family. My dad bought a power washer and sprayed down literally every part of our house, including the trees. We also had a lot of theme nights like bonfires, movies, and game nights. Recently, as different things are reopening, we’ve experimented with local trips and went to the beach for a few days
Q: What are you doing to practice and keep your game sharp while not competing in tournaments?
Wotnosky: We’re lucky that the golf courses in North Carolina stayed open through quarantine. Some of my closest friends from high school also play college golf, so I’ve been able to practice and play with them. Recently, my teammates have been setting up virtual challenges and unofficial matches through our team chat which has been really fun. Both of my younger siblings play competitive golf too, so I’m never short on practice buddies or match play partners.
Q: How are you dealing with cabin fever. What are some things you are doing now that you don’t normally do to fill your time?
Wotnosky: At the beginning of quarantine I had a mini bucket list of things I’ve wanted to do or try. I went through that list almost too fast and then started experimenting with different things like indoor plants and tried new hobbies, especially things you can do while listening to recorded lecture – like knitting and solving a Rubik’s cube. I’ve also spent as much time as possible outside doing yoga and running. Outside of that, I’ve been trying to stick to my normal routine as much as possible, which has been working on school, practicing, cooking, and keeping up with leisure reading.
Q: Do you have a new guilty pleasure?
Wotnosky: When quarantine started, I would make trips to Trader Joe’s every few weeks and found out that they have the absolute best snack food. I’m addicted to their chocolate and vanilla meringue cookies
Q: What’s something new you have learned to do during the self-quarantine?
Wotnosky: I’ve learned a lot about home projects! I renovated our front patio, which involved learning how to use different power tools. I’ve also been trying to learn how to code, which is really difficult but satisfying when you figure it out!
Q: Have you experimented with cooking? Any successes?
Wotnosky: I’ve always loved cooking and being at home has given me so much time to experiment with new recipes! I played with plant based foods for a bit and made a lot of rice bowls and veggie bowls. I also made my roommates famous banana bread, which made me feel like I was back in Charlottesville.
Q: Have you binge watched or read anything you’d like to share?
Wotnosky: I’ve gone through spurts of binging certain seasons of my favorite shows and then re-watching other shows like New Girl. I’ve always wanted to learn more about poetry, so I read a few different collections and found a style that I really enjoy. Right now, I’m reading Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s really interesting and very relevant right now
Q: How often do you communicate with your teammates now?
Wotnosky: We’ve been talking as much as possible! We have a lot of different group chats, and it’s really nice to see everyone over Zoom calls. The technology is nice, but I still really miss everyone and can’t wait until we’re all back in the same place.
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated with such a disruption in your schedule?
Wotnosky: Because I did online classes for most of high school, I’m pretty accustomed to having a flexible schedule. I like to set mini goals for myself and make to do lists so that I can check off each small accomplishment, which keeps me motivated to accomplish the next thing. I’ve been able to apply this strategy to both school and golf and create fun projects out of the different tasks.
Q: How did on-line classes go? Anything in particular you found interesting about the process?
Wotnosky: The transition to online classes was a really pleasant experience and all of my professors did a fantastic job utilizing the available technology and making accommodations in their teaching platforms. With having my family around, I also found that reading my essays out loud really helped my editing process, so I’m planning to hold on to that habit even when I get back to school.
Q: What do you miss most about golf right now?
Wotnosky: Right now, I miss most the anticipation of upcoming tournaments. For as long as I’ve played golf, I’ve always had the feeling of preparing for a tournament and knowing what comes next. Now, not knowing if we will even have a fall season provides a lot of uncertainty.
Q: How excited are you to get back to Cville and to play Birdwood when it reopens this summer?
Wotnosky: I can’t wait to see the new Birdwood when I get back to Charlottesville! The pictures I’ve seen look so beautiful and challenging, and I think that practicing on such a great course will definitely make us even better.
Q: How would you evaluate your first season of collegiate competition? What are the areas of the game you want to focus on before the next season starts?
Wotnosky: My first season of collegiate competition was so much fun. I really enjoyed traveling with the team and the continual process of growing as a team and as teammates. I think that we have a lot of room to improve headed into next year, which is motivating and makes me really excited for our future. This season especially, I’ve been working to improve my pitch shots around the green. I’m also been working to improve my overall consistency in different conditions, especially on holes that are visually challenging.