For senior women’s golfer Bertine Strauss, the 9,000-mile plane ride home to Koster, South Africa, takes almost a full day. But the experiences she has gained from being so far from from home have only helped her lead Texas through the past three seasons.
“Being so far away from home forces you to be independent, go out of your comfort zone and try new things,” Strauss said.
Strauss takes all of these lessons to heart — and to the golf course, where she has continued to push herself to new heights and anchor the team. So far this season, Strauss has achieved a career-low 66 (-6) at the Schooner Fall Classic, where she also set a school record for the lowest three-round total, a 3-under 207.
In addition to playing well as an individual, Strauss has set the tone for the team this season. Of the seven tournaments the Longhorns have competed in, Strauss has been the low player five times. Off the course, she has been a leader in the clubhouse.
“This year, I’ve been leading by example,” Strauss said. “There are no freshmen on the team this year, so everyone is taken care of, and there’s no disruption.”
Despite her accomplishments this season, Strauss still thinks she can get better.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Strauss said. “In golf, you play against yourself and the course, and there’s always room for improvement.”
Her improvement over her four years here at the University is easy to see. She has set new career lows every season while earning numerous accolades.
Strauss was named a 2014 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar and was on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team in both 2013 and 2014.
But these accomplishments are nothing in comparison to the valuable lessons and experiences she has learned while being away from home.
“It’s a luxury to be able to go home,” Strauss said. “I appreciate what UT has given me. It’s easy to see how well the University treats its athletes, and I’m thankful, especially considering what it’s like back in South Africa.”
The independence and motivation Strauss gained from her worldly perspective have also encouraged her to pursue other goals after she graduates in May. Come August, she plans on attempting to make the LPGA tour.
Before then, however, Strauss looks to finish the season strong. The Longhorns’ next tournament is the Texas-Hawaii Classic on March 21 at the Kapalua G. C. Bay Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.
“I’m definitely looking forward to Hawaii,” Strauss said. “Especially after last week, when I came in strong and was in contention the entire tournament.”