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Going Pro

I was playing a round of golf with an old friend. It came at a time where I had just recently found my way back to course maintenance work at golf courses, and was working at a private course the first time in my life. What does that mean?.. It means on Mondays, or what are many private courses around the world’s typical maintenance day is, I get to play for free after work. So, of course this became my routine and main objective.

So there I was talking to my buddy about his current dilemma -- should I re-enroll back into college and give up on my dreams of the NHL or take a contract out in Europe playing hockey even though it’s not the show. Now the cons were laid out: Extremely unlikely to ever make the NHL ever again, leave everything in life behind and go to an unknown continent… yada, yada…

I couldn’t hear anymore of it. I was 30 years old working for $11.33 an hour only so I could play free golf once a week. My buddy needed a reality check. So after hearing how he was planning to go back to college as a political science major I decided the best way to urge him to play pro hockey in Europe was to show him just how far a college degree can get him.

‘Huh, interesting, political science, that’s an interdisciplinary major, no?’ He didn’t have the answer as I posed the question. ‘It is’. I told him. ‘You know, I have an interdisciplinary major too.’ I was trying to scare him. Continued to ask him what he planned to do with his political science degree.. A probe that he did not have the answer to. I was showing him how far a degree got me. (Now my particular circumstance was unique and a I knew that, but come on, this is pro hockey).

The fear I was trying to instill in him was growing. I explained to him why I worked at golf courses after that. Told him I got my start in the golf industry because I love playing golf, and working in the field, so to speak, gives enough opportunity to play if you really want to. I went on to tell him that my whole dream growing up was to be a professional athlete. I was not now or never giving up on that dream. I told this friend of mine to think of every kid we grew up with together. What did all of us want to do? What did we all live for? What were we all doing playing competitive sports in high school and college? We all had the same dream of lacing em up everyday and lifting those coveted championship trophies.

I offered more hope and encouragement. I continued on to explain that I was never giving up on my dream to be a pro golfer.. Not now.. Not ever. He rightfully gave me a befuddled look. I looked down to hit my golf ball. Peered up at this kid and determinedly announced through the corner of my mouth, ‘There’s always the Champs Tour.’

I carded a 97 and was pleased with the round I played… My friend went out to keep playing hockey in Europe after that. He never told me why or what gave him the courage to roll with that newly presented obstacle in life. I hope my caddie tips led to his decision down that obvious life path.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Top Picks: This is a day late so I’ll try to pick people that you can still get good Vegas odds with:

Jordan Spieth

Patrick Reed

Jason Day

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