Big 12 Championship – Texas, USA

The Iowa State Cyclones played in the Big 12 Championships from the 29th April to the 1st May.   This tournament was played over 72 holes at Whispering Pines in Trinity, Texas. 

Nick fired a final round 69 at the Big 12 Championship to earn all-tournament honors at the Big 12 Championship for the third consecutive season.  He finished eighth in the medalist race with a total of 287, five shots behind Oklahoma State’s Stratton Nolen, who was the medalist with a four round total of 282.

As a team, the Cyclones placed ninth with an 1196 tally.  Texas was crowned the champion at 1138.

Voke is the first Cyclone in school history to finish in the top-10 at the Big 12 Championship three times, finishing T9 (2014), T10 (2015) and 8th (2016) in his three appearances at the conference meet. He was tied with Scott Fernandez (2013, 2015) for the most top-10 showings at the Big 12 Championship heading into this weekend.

This result rounded off one of the best seasons in Cyclone golf history. He was recognized for his efforts by earning All-Big 12 Men’s Golf First Team, announced by the league office.  Nick was one of 10 golfers to earn All-Big 12 honors. All members are ranked in the top-80 nationally, including Nick, who is ranked 70th by Golfweek’s individual rankings.

Nick joins Scott Fernandez (2013), Nate McCoy (2012), Chris Baker (2008), Matt Lewis (1998), Jason Knutzon (1997) and Donnie Teeter (1997) in an elite group of Cyclone golfers to be named All-Big 12 first team. 
2016 All-Big 12 Team
Beau Hossler, Texas, Jr.
Doug Ghim, Texas, So.
Gavin Hall, Texas, Jr.
Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Max McGreevy, Oklahoma, Jr.
Kristoffer Ventura, Oklahoma State, So.
Stratton Nolen, Oklahoma State, So.
Nick Voke, Iowa State, Jr.
Paul Barjon, TCU, Sr.
Brendon Jelley, Oklahoma State, So.

Nick made it to the postseason by earning an individual berth to the NCAA Stillwater Regional, May 16-18 at the Karsten Creek Golf Club.

Whispering Pines

Set along the shores of Lake Livingston, Whispering Pines Golf Club rests on 450 acres of beautiful pine and hardwood forest. The property was acquired by Barbara and Corby Robertson in 1970 for neighboring Camp Olympia, a renowned summer camp. Mr. Robertson staked out the golf course routing in 1992. Timber was cleared, seed was sown, and soon afterward, “Olf” (golf without the greens) was being played by Camp Olympia’s Junior Golf Program. By the mid-nineties, Camp Olympia Golf Course, as it was known then, was partially complete and featured the first Flora Dwarf greens in Texas.

In 1998, Mr. Robertson’s vision broadened to create world-class golf to support the Texas Medical Center, health related causes, and the promotion of amateur golf. The new vision founded the World Health and Golf Association (WHGA), a charity organization that manages all membership and tournament activities at Whispering Pines. The WHGA Membership program consists of Individuals, National, Corporations, Spirit Tournament Sponsors, and Charitable Partners who make an annual contribution to support WHGA charitable beneficiaries. Through their annual contribution, WHGA members enjoy membership benefits to Whispering Pines Golf Club. Operating on a two season basis from March to July and September to December, Whispering Pines offers members and their guests an intimate, world class golf experience.

Chet Williams of the Nicklaus Design Group was hired to design the best course in Texas. Twenty months later, in March 2000, Whispering Pines Golf Club opened its doors, and as golfers found their way, rave reviews ensued. It is a 7,473 yard, par 72 course.  Whispering Pines debuted as the 3rd Best New Private Course in the nation by Golf Digest. Since 2006 Whispering Pines has held the number one course in Texas ranking by the Dallas Morning News. 

The Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is a ten-school collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I for all sports; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A), the higher of two levels of NCAA Division I football competition. Its ten members, located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia, include eight public and two private Christian schools.  The Big 12 includes 23 sports – 10 in which men compete in and 13 in which women compete in.

The Big 12 was formerly composed of 12 schools, hence its name: it was formed in 1996 when four schools from the collapsing Southwest Conference (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor) joined with the pre-existing Big Eight Conference. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were grouped with the four newcomers in the “Big 12 South”, while the remaining 6 teams of the Big 8 (Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa State) formed the “Big 12 North”.

The conference’s current 10-campus makeup resulted from the 2010 to 2013 Big 12 Conference realignment, in which Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference, Colorado joined the Pac-12, and Missouri and Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference. Texas Christian University and West Virginia joined from the Mountain West and Big East Conferences respectively to offset two of the departing schools, bringing the conference to its current strength.

The current members of the Big 12 are University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, University of Kansas, West Virginia University, Oklahoma State University,, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, Texas Tech University and Iowa State University.

The Big 12 Conference, like others involved in the realignment, has kept its name primarily for marketing purposes; the conference has high name recognition and remains one of the Power Five conferences which are considered the primary contenders to produce a College Football Playoff champion team in any given year. Attempts to rename the Big 12 to reflect its current strength would lead to confusion with the current Big Ten Conference (which currently has 14 teams). The Big 12 is also considered one of the Premier Seven Conferences in basketball.

Like the Southwest Conference, the Big 12 footprint has a small population base. It has the smallest population base by far of the contract conferences. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa have a combined population of 37.8 million.
Conference revenue comes mostly from television contracts, bowl games, the NCAA, merchandise, licensing and conference-hosted sporting events.   The revenue for the Big 12 conference in 2015 was USD252 million.

In 2015 Iowa State University earnt USD66 million in revenue which was in line with the expenses for the same year. The average spend per student for the 2015 year was USD129,000.

Revenue includes ticket sales, contributions and donations, rights/licensing, student fees, school funds and all other sources including TV income, camp income, food and novelties. Total expenses includes coaching/staff, scholarships, buildings/ground, maintenance, utilities and rental fees and all other costs including recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, conference dues and insurance costs. 


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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