|My golfing background started around the age of 3. I was given
a wooden, cut-down, 3 wood to use in the backyard. Only after a few
weeks I accidentally hit my brother in the eyebrow with the club while
practicing. To this day I can still see the scar...(sorry Kirk!!)..
My parents moved to a golf course subdivision, Green Acres GC, when I was 6 years old and I was able to participate in junior golf. Although nothing like the junior golf programs today, this gave me my first opportunity at competive golf. This continued every summer until I was able to work as a "rack rat" or bag boy at the local course. The local junior tournaments prepared me for high school golf. As a freshman I started #2 on the golf team and played #1 as a sophomore until I graduated high school. One of my weaknesses was not playing in more competative situations (state or national level) to prepare me for what was to follow.
After high school, I attended Purdue University in WestLafayette, IN and was a walk-on to the golf team. It was great to play against other players from outside the state and get an idea on how the competition was at a Division 1 level. I ended up playing for 1-1/2 years on the JV team until my Electrical Engineering studies started to suffer. At this point I decided to drop the team and work toward getting my degree.
During the summers I continued to work at the local golf course and started activly pursuing a golf career also. I signed to be an assistant professtional and started working toward my Class A PGA status (head golf professional at an approved golf club). These steps are more complicated now, but the program was to pass a playing test and then attend the PGA business & teaching schools (usually requiring a few years to complete). I started by passing the state "players test". This consists of playing 36 holes on a specified day and given a target score to shoot (depending on the course rating it is around 76-76=152). After the first 18 holes my score was 80....and we had to wait for a rain delay. I was able to come out and fire a 70 on the second round to get a score of 150 to pass by a couple of strokes. At this point I was able to play in some PGA tournaments around the state (Pro-Ams, Pro-Pro matches, etc). I ended up playing in a few events, but actually worked around 70 hours/week at a pay rate of a little better than minimum wage. Two years later I had my EE degree and it was a "no-brainer" to decide to take 4X pay increase for fewer work hours. A few years later I applied for my amateur status and it was approved by the USGA.
To this day I enjoy every chance I get to play, but with the family comittments it is usually limited to 9-18 hole league every week.
My biggest complaint is having to give lots of strokes for league matches....
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