By: Bradley Walker
I am a student at the University of South Florida and, as I continue my career through the college ranks I am reminded daily from friends, co-workers and family about how great their smart phones are.
While they surf the web, play words with friends and take pictures with their high definition smart phone cameras, I glance down at my now obsolete mobile device and dream of a day when I can keep pace with technology. As a college student I keep my life relatively simple and, unlike half of my friends, I consider myself part of the late majority when adopting new technologies.
This raises the question: What is so smart about a smart phone anyway?
Sure it offers mobile internet access, thousands of applications and other savvy tech features, but for college students these capabilities are becoming too difficult to pass up.
Between work, class, extra curricular activities and relaxation, it’s like smart phones were made exclusively for the typical college student.
I got my Iphone about five months ago, and I am already dependent on it,” said USF architecture student Daniel Becker. “When I can send emails, play games and surf the web while sitting in class, I know that technology has spoiled me.”
Smart-phone usage among college students increased from 27 percent in February 2009 to 48 percent in July 2010, according to researcher Micheal Hanley at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
This increase in smart phone use on college campuses raises the question of whether they are more of a distraction than a necessity. “These phones have many educational advantages, and when used properly can be beneficial towards a student’s success in college,” said Ken Christensen, professor in the department of computer science and engineering at USF.
Smart phones can become distracting, but a phone that makes it easy for even the laziest student to multi-task is truly a phenomenon.
A report conducted by researchers at CU-Boulder’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism found that the most common places college students used their smart phones were while riding in a bus, train, or car, during idle time at work or school, waiting in line (grocery store, coffee shop checkout, etc), for school-related tasks, when they first wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep.
Think of how much time is saved in a student’s day if tasks are completed in all of these daily situations. A student’s lack of time is always an issue, but according to USF accounting student Joey Loeffler, “there is an app for that.”
“I haven’t decided if my Android has had a positive or negative impact on my life since I got it,” said Loeffler. “The price of my phone was too good to pass up, so I did some research and knew that buying a smart phone was in my best interest.”
Loeffler is part of a price insensitive demographic that accounts for a majority of smart phone users. Nielsen Company found that half of smart phone users are between the ages of 18 and 34, indicating that colleges are a booming market for new mobile technologies.
With all of this being said, we still don’t know why this trend is prevalent, or even important. To put it simply, smart phones make an already complicated life easier to live. Having the ability to manage several tasks in the palm of your hand makes users feel empowered and independent.
Younger generations (Gen. Y’s) have grown up in an age where advancements in technology was a common theme in daily life. While the baby boomers are content with their feature phones and PC’s, Generation Y lives vicariously through technology.
For a college student, this trend can’t be ignored. We are constantly on the go, and having a smart phone is more of a necessity than a luxury. As a generation that has been immersed in an era of advancements and innovation, the last thing we can do is stand idly as technology passes us by.
Smart phones have become a part of our culture, giving us the best of both worlds. Not only do they fulfill our need to stay mobile, they allow us to remain connected to the things and people that matter most in life.
Chris Malloy, head coach of the men’s golf team, says there really is a home-team advantage now that “The Claw” golf course has new turf.
“The newly renovated Bermuda greens give our team an added advantage over the course of a season,” Malloy said, “We putt on them every day, and when other schools come to Florida tournaments it takes them a while to adjust to the speed of the greens.”
The 18-hole, 6,809 yard golf course situated on the outskirts of the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus may not look like much when driving down Fletcher Ave., but it is considered to be a hidden gem in the Tampa Bay area.
Opened in 1967, the par 71 course offers long, narrow fairways, top notch greens, a driving range and a putting/chipping green, according to The Claw website. The USF men’s and women’s golf teams use this facility on a regular basis.
The Claw is a public course that has held a good reputation for many years. Many enjoy the difficulty of the course, while others admire the serene atmosphere of wildlife, lofty oak trees and lush green fairways. Adam Combs, general manager of The Claw at USF, talked about the importance of providing a well manicured golf course to be used by athletes, students and members of the Tampa community alike.
“It comes down to a passion for the game of golf,” Combs said. “The condition of the course is my responsibility, and if conditions on the course get bad, members and guests notice and the situation can get ugly. Our crew has done a good job with daily operations, and the renovations that occurred back in 2009 have set this course apart from other public courses in the area.”
Practice sessions at the Claw have evidently paid off for the Bulls in the Big East Conference Championships this week as they placed fourth out of twelve teams after two rounds of golf, according to gousfbulls.com. The final round is being played today, April 19 at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor.
After a fourteenth place finish at the Florida Atlantic University Spring Break Championshipin Delray Beach, Fla., the men’s golf team looks to prove their worth in the Big East as they host the 2011 conference championship on April 17-19 in Palm Harbor, Fla.
The tournament will be played at Innisbrook Golf Resort, a magnificent display of four signature courses and recognized in Golf Digest’s “Top 75 golf resorts in America,” according to the Innisbrook website.
BigEast.org lists the previous winners of this historic tournament, which dates back to 1979, but one university that is not found on that list is the University of South Florida. The bulls hope to place well in the Big East tournament before they set out to play in the NCAA tournament in late May.
“We’re trying to treat this like any other tournament,” said head coach Chris Malloy, “We know that there is some added significance since this is our conference championship, but the biggest challenge in golf is to treat every shot the same, every tournament the same. A 3-wood is a 3-wood; a 7-iron is a 7-iron and a downhill putt is a downhill putt.”
USF Sophomore Devin Hernandez has been playing exceptionally well for the bulls this season, and Malloy hopes that Hernandez and the rest of the team can compete and win a Big East championship.
“I’ve been hitting it straight off the tee so far this year. I need to execute on placement this week,” Hernandez said when asked how he has been preparing for the upcoming tournament.
“We try to keep our emotions in check as a team, because that’s something Coach Malloy stresses,” said Hernandez, “We’re relaxed as a team because we’ve been playing well in practice in the past couple of weeks.”
Students, followers and supporters of USF golf are encouraged to come out next Sunday and support both the men’s and women’s programs as they compete for a chance to bring home the Big East trophy.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Rick Kittelstad, a junior on the USF men’s golf team. He shared many things during our brief interview, giving me the chance to learn about his personal life and plans for a future career playing golf. Kittelstad, a veteran on the team, had plenty to say regarding his experiences on the USF golf team.
Q: At what age did you start playing golf? What drew you to the sport?
A: Well around the age of eight my dad took me to the public golf course which was in our neighborhood. At that age I would play, but I obviously didn’t know any of the rules. My dad was really into golf at that stage in my life so he would take me out a lot to play. As a kid I always liked hitting the ball off the tee. It was frustrating at times but as I played more I got better.
Q: Who was the biggest supporter/coach of your golfing career growing up?
A: I would have to say my father. He was my personal coach up until I started playing at USF. Both of my parents supported me, but my dad was the one taking me to tournaments and teaching me how to play the game.
Q: Of all the years playing golf, what is your favorite memory on a golf course?
The University of South Florida men’s golf team teed off their season in September 2010 with a few solid outings in out-of-state tournaments, according to GoUSFbulls.com. After spending a productive four years as coach, Jim Fee stepped down and was named director of athletic events and championships.
Chris Malloy took over the position as head coach in June 2010. According to the USF men’s golf team website, after four years with great success as Florida State’s assistant golf coach, Malloy decided that a head-coaching job was the next step in his coaching career. Justin Fetcho, a former USF standout, is now the assistant coach.
Both coaches have one goal in mind for the 2010-2011 season: to win a Big East championship. Malloy, along with other great coaches, led the FSU men’s golf program to their first ACC championship in 2008, leaving no doubt that Malloy will bring the same spark to the USF.
A notable tournament followed by the Tampa Tribune came during this season’s Match Play, hosted by USF at TPC Tampa Bay. USF shot the best score recorded in four years and the Big East’s player of the week was awarded to junior Devin Patel.
According to the St. Pete Times, USF hosted a tournament last weekend at Lake Jovita Country Club in Dade City. Middle Tennessee State took home the trophy, while USF played some good golf and ended the weekend with an 11th place finish.
The Bulls must now prepare for their fourth tournament of 2011. On March 11, USF will face host Florida State and 13 other programs in the Seminole Intercollegiate Golf Tournament in Tallahassee.