You have displayed incredible dedication to the game of golf and to the North Florida PGA Section in general. What is it that motivates you to show such dedication and devotion to the game?
I had some key people around me when I was young, deciding whether I wanted to go in this direction or not. I wasn't going to school thinking that golf was going to be a background or going to be my career path. There were so many key people in my life when I was going through college that helped me understand what was going to be best for me and they helped me understand the importance of doing something that you love. Ultimately, the key for me is trying to share the passion for playing that I have. Obviously, you can't give someone passion, but at the same time, you help them along and mentor them by doing everything that you possibly can to get the most out of their abilities. I get so excited when I get to help other golf professionals and other people in general. It's such a good feeling to be able to watch other people grow. That is where my passion lies.
Who is it that introduced you to the game and what is the story behind that?
I was born in Detroit and when I was 7 years old, I moved to Florida with my mother and stepfather. My mother became a server at a country club and that's where it all began. When you move to Florida, you're supposed to play golf, so it just happened very easily for me. When my mother was at work, I was able to get involved with the junior golf program and I was hooked ever since. If you are in the slightest bit decent at something, there will be people around to encourage you. There was an individual, Gene Julian, who loved the game and saw my potential. Gene motivated me to pursue the game of golf in my life at a young age.
We believe that PGA Members are the experts in the game and business of golf. Our Members are passionate about playing, learning, serving, and leading. Out of these 4 passion areas, which is most important to you and why?
In the business of golf, as the director of golf, it is important for me to be a leader. Also, teaching is a huge factor as well. It's not as much about teaching the rules of the game, but teaching the business. Building relationships and developing a passion for the business is crucial. Playing is what starts it all. When you fall in love with the game and throw in the teaching, leading, learning, and serving, that's how you gain your passion for golf as a whole. The passion for the game starts with playing and the business aspect of the game follows.
What is something that your fellow PGA Members might not know about you?
It's not as creative as secretly knitting, but I very much enjoy traveling with my family. My son turns 12 this April and every other year we travel to Europe. This is something that we do for all of his even number years. One of my favorite things is the fact that my wife, Jill, and I want our son to see the world. Watching him grow and learn to appreciate different cultures is very important to us. We want him to see other cultures as more than just something different and we want him to understand that it is just something else. I turned down a job to teach in Norway because I was afraid and intimidated to go into another culture that I wasn't familiar with. I want my son to be able to appreciate other cultures and not miss out on opportunities to step out of his comfort zone.
If your golf ball could speak, what would it say to you or what would it say about you?
"Is that as hard as you can hit me?"
"Stop hitting 3 woods and hit it in the fairway, try to make birdies!"