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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 22, 2017

Meet Your Local PGA Professional

When did you start playing golf and who was the person that influenced you the most?
3 years old. My parents because they always made sure I had the opportunity to play golf somewhere. My mother was always supportive and my father was a fierce competitor.

As a player and golf professional, Randy Robel (former head professional at Chenequa CC), Bob Burns (Wisconsin PGA), Gary Geiger (North Florida PGA), Paul Azinger (PGA Tour and former neighbor). All were true mentors in all facets of the golf game and industry.

Best Round and where?
Competitive round: 66 at River Wilderness Y&CC, Parrish, Florida. Memorable "best" round: Playing golf with Paul Azinger and Payne Stewart in 50 mile an hour Florida winds on the same day the Honda Classic was postponed due to high winds.

What would be your dream foursome?
Donald Ross, Harvey Penick, Professor Bill Bremer (my college advisor who helped get me into the golf business and would appreciate the historical magnitude of our two playing partners).

What is your favorite golf tip and why?
Manual de la Torre- "Where are you trying to send the golf ball?"... Well then swing
the club in that direction. Simple, yet profound. Sometimes we get so caught up in the particulars of golf swing mechanics that we forget to swing the golf club freely at the target.

Your most indispensable piece of equipment?
Scotty Cameron Laguna putter.

What is the largest misconception the public has about the golf industry or the PGA professional?
Club professionals play golf every day. Sorry, but no, my office just happens to be in a great location!

Craziest thing you have done to try to improve your game and did it work?
The craziest thing that happened (done by accident) to improve my golf game, was the day I was talked into giving a golf clinic during the annual club Turkey Shoot golf event wearing, of course, a turkey costume. The problem: I couldn't see the ball through the rubber turkey head mask. Every time I thought "hit the ball" I laid the sod over it. When I thought "stay centered and swing in a circle, the swing was normal and the shots were solid. The light bulb in the brain lit up, "that's what 'they' (presumably experts) mean when 'they' say swing the club and let the ball get in the way. Fortunately, there were no camera phones or social media back in the day.

What are some ways you, as a PGA professional help grow the game of golf?
I co-op with physical education teachers and teach a "Golf In School" unit at numerous metro Milwaukee\ Waukesha County school systems during the winter months. The members at the Oconomowoc Golf Club have assisted in this endeavor by donating thousands of old golf clubs. The clubs are given to the schools so that golf units can be taught in future years.

Awards or special notes of interest in the industry?
Wisconsin Section PGA
Wisconsin PGA Teacher of the Year, 2016
Wisconsin PGA Player Development Award, 2015
Ping Regional Club Fitting Award, 2014
Wisconsin PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Private Club, 2003

North Florida Section PGA SW Chapter
Golf Professional of the Year, 1994
Horton Smith Award, 1992 & 1993
Distinguished Service Award, 1992

What interests or hobbies do you have away from the course?
My daughter was a high level competitive gymnast and son currently plays club volleyball for the UW-Badgers. A great way to spend winters by traveling to different
locations throughout the country to watch each of them compete. Also, gave me ample time to play tourist as well as sample the local cuisine.

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