Every good group has a nickname, and the British trio that makes up nearly half of the Seton Hall men’s golf team is no different. “The British Boys,” as they are called, consists of sophomores Alex McAuley and Alex Chalk, from Douglas, Isle of Man and Castle Douglas, Scotland, in addition to freshman Gregor Tait from Martlesham Heath, England.
Before they crossed the pond to play golf at the Hall, they were familiar with one another from previous tournaments. Chalk, or “Chalky” as he is often referred to, and Tait both went to school in England. The two met while playing in tournaments and their relationship grew as they played together and occasionally roomed together during tournaments.
Despite their friendship, the two did not plan to go to the same college. In fact, their arrivals in South Orange came as a result of McAuley, who was the first to join the Pirates, and Seton Hall head coach Clay White scouted the two while signing McAuley.
“I didn’t know Chalky was talking to Seton Hall until I saw him again at a different tournament when he told me he was going to Seton Hall,” Tait said.
Now at Seton Hall, each has managed to acclimate to American culture, despite their distance from their home.
“Whenever there’s something different about [American] culture, I can just ask the boys and figure it out,” Chalk said.
“I live with Chalky and sometimes we just can’t get our head around some of the American news stories and words, so we talk about it,” McAuley said.
“For me, I came in with a negative attitude towards adjusting to American culture, but it’s not bad, it’s just different,” Tait said.
Although the “British Boys” have adjusted to the American lifestyle, it helps to have each other around for those moments where the new setting leaves them homesick.
“Going away and staying with the three of us in the room is nice, because it’s like a culture reset,” Tait said. “Being able to talk about stuff back home is nice, whereas if there were no other British guys on the team, you wouldn’t be able to talk about anything that’s going on back home; so there’s always something to talk about.”
“We still have fun with the other boys, but half of the fun is them not knowing what we are saying,” Chalk said. “We’ve started to get the boys into our culture, like the TV programs and everything.”
One of the biggest differences between the culture in the U.S. and the U.K. is the main reason why the trio are in America in the first place: the difference in the golf game.
“The culture shock for us is the difference in the golfing world here,” Chalk said. “It’s so different, and I don’t think many people in the world realize that.”
“We have team tournaments back home, but it’s only once a year,” McAuley said. “Even though you’re playing for a team, it’s still very individual. There’s no coach going around checking out how you’re playing.”
“It’s nice being able to go out and play for a team that has records that are kept somewhere,” Tait said. “That’s so uncommon for us, but it’s such good fun.”
Despite the concept being foreign, the young trio has fit into the atmosphere and culture of college golf, embracing the process of coming together as a team along the way.
“There’s so much more that goes on outside of just the four hours you spend on the course,” Tait said. “You can affect the team in so many different ways during the offseason and during practice. The way you conduct yourself affects the whole team, and it’s nice to have the responsibility.”
“We’re all so close as a team that it’s nice to know that you can trust each other,” McAuley said. “It’s just a cool feeling, knowing that everyone is contributing towards the team.”
Each player has been a big contributor this season, with McAuley and Chalk improving in their second collegiate seasons and Tait has been making an immediate impact in his first. While they still have room to grow in the years to come, “The British Boys” will be a big part of any success the Pirates end up having this spring.
Nick Santoriello can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NickSantoriello.