Cristina Escribano started golfing when she was 7 years old and she’s loved the sport ever since. Growing up in the big city of Seville, Spain, the course at Club Zaudin Golf was like a tranquil escape from the sound of the busy streets.
“I love golf because it is very relaxing, and I like the country because I live in the city,” Escribano, 16, said.
Her passion for hitting the links helped Escribano tremendously when she arrived in the United States on Labor Day weekend and became a member of the Buckeye Central golf team. The junior foreign exchange student has immersed herself in a different culture, while attempting to master a new language, and golf has helped her along the way. She’s made new friends, improved her English and had the opportunity to have fun on the course in the process.
“She was real quiet at first, but now she chatters away,” Buckettes golf coach Jack Kidwell said. “Eventually she makes us understand her, and she understands what we are trying to tell her. It’s working out fine. I wish I would have had her all year long, because I think we would have won more matches.”
Escribano wrapped up her short season Monday at Twin Lakes against Mansfield Senior, shooting a 51, helping her team to an overall record of 10-7. She’s dropped her score in every match, improving from a 62, to a 56, to a 53, and finally down to a 51.
“The first time we had her over at the range, she was hitting some really nice shots, long and straight,” Kidwell said. “It surprised all of us a little bit, because we didn’t have any idea how good she really was. At first her scores on the course didn’t reflect how well she hits the ball, but now each time she has played she’s come down several shots. She has the potential to be a very good player. She hits the ball a long way.”
In Spain, the only school sports available are soccer and volleyball, all others are played for a club or a town. Escribano has played club golf for a number of years, but was happy to be a member of a high school team, if only for a month. Her teammates were excited to have her as well, and have started to form strong relationships with Escribano, both on and off of the course.
“Having Cristina on the golf team is pretty much like having any other girl, except trying to communicate is a little bit harder,” junior Maddie Fagan said. “We use Google Translate on our cellphones, or it’s like playing a game of charades were we like to point at things, or she does, and we just have to figure out what she is trying to say.”
Escribano is staying with senior Abbie Auck and her parents, Arnie and Heather, on the family’s 20-acre hobby farm. She said she is excited to be living in a part of the U.S. that isn’t a big city like New York, and is enjoying her time in Crawford County.
“This, for me, is good,” Escribano said. “I live in the country and I love it.”