Jeff Sorenson, A Modern Day “Hershey Hurricane”
By Tim Ryan
Jeff Sorenson was born in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Raised in Brooklyn Park, he grew up with a dad armed with a scratch handicap as a golfer. So, Jeff was able to learn many great lessons from one of the best. Both men knew how to play the game, and a champion began to develop. By age 11, young Sorenson had already shown promise as a golfer.
When the opportunity arose for Jeff to become a caddy at Edinburgh USA, he welcomed the chance to learn even more about how to (and not to) properly play the game. Up and down he trekked with clubs, only giving the player advice if they asked for it. The kid would definitely play or practice before or after he was done getting paid for the day looping about the yard. The young caddy was fortunate, too, to watch then emulate one of the best players Minnesota golf has ever seen, Don Berry. Plus, he got to be on the bag for several LPGA players when Edinburgh hosted their big event each year. Don Berry deserves much credit for the success of Jeff Sorenson, as do the ladies who helped teach Jeff to play.
After a modestly successful high school career, Sorney earned an Evans Scholarship for his good work ethic and polite and likeable nature. Unfortunately for Gophers fans and supporters, he did not play golf for the school’s squad, as it was an era that found “Goldy” not recruiting many kids from their home state. With so many talented golfers throughout Minnesota playing golf at Division I schools, it is still hard to fathom why the U allowed such a good one from their own state to not earn their support. This was okay – Sorney got to live the life of a college kid, while playing events throughout the summer.
Young Sorenson’s game began to peak and his scores dipped by the time he was twenty-one years of age. As his studies in Business Management neared completion, Jeff turned professional. The rest is history in the making, as here he is now at thirty-two, 21 years since it all began, teeing it up with the big boys in the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. When asked what it took to get to this point, Sorney answered as efficiently and humble as his character. “Consistent routine. Same steps.”
The 1920’s and thirties are my specialty. Back when, way back then, there was a wonderful man named Henry Picard. He was a great golfer and person. There was also an equally talented man and human being named Grantland Rice. Picard was a great player and teacher, so ahead of his time. Mr. Rice was a wunderkind sports journalist, also ahead of his time. They hit it off famously, and Henry’s stellar and consistent play and heroic and stoic way inspired Grantland to dub his friend Pic the “Hershey Hurricane.” The moniker was based on Henry’s dominant play and connection to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Henry Picard, The Hershey Hurricane, would have liked Sorenson’s game, and chosen him to do well in the Championship, both at Hershey and in Atlanta. No small coincidence, then, that Jeff qualified to play in the 2011 PGA Championship by finishing T-8 at Hershey Country Club, which hosted the PGA Professional National Championship. Especially so knowing the time the man has invested in playing consistent golf.
A true statistic to serve as a testament to Sorney’s patience and diligence is that he has logged over 100,000 miles traveling to and from practice rounds and tournaments as a pro. The most amazing feat in the man’s career, however, has been that he has averaged 70.0 per round playing as a professional. This is his most relished accomplishment, because it proves to him, and others, that he plays harder every day, no matter what the circumstances.
Thus, I hereby do dub Sorney as the new Hershey Hurricane. His route to this point has been very similar to that of Henry Picard, and Jeff is a testament to the faith and hard work that Picard had implemented all those years before. And so, here goes the Hershey Hurricane, swirling on down to Atlanta Athletic Club!
What I would like to ask everyone to do is, at his tee-time on day one, no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, stop and give the Hershey Hurricane a round of applause. And root for him the rest of the week!