There were some not-so-pretty parts of my quest to becoming a turf manager.
High school went by quickly. My junior year the baseball coach brought me into his office and give me an ultimatum: either I play baseball or golf. He said there was not enough time for both sports. I told him that I would turn my uniform in the next day. Golf became my obsession, my dream, my life.
I was eighteen years old and graduating high school in a few weeks. My classmates were all talking about what they were going to do after graduation. The school newsletter came out with all the seniors and where they were going to college. Next to my name said, “University of Oregon.”
I knew this summer I was going to work at Laurelwood on the turf crew. I had my sights set on making the U of O golf team next season. I also knew I wanted to get a degree in turf management. The only uncertainty that I had was if I was going to graduate high school.
Ya, I was thinking the same thing. I might not graduate high school!?!
Senior year of high school was great for me. I spent most of my time on the golf course. When I got home from school, it was straight to the course to practice. If I was not at school, I was at the golf course. Unfortunately, what I thought was a great idea to be able to take personal finance as a self-study course became a nightmare.
I quickly realized that I was going to have to do a ton of personal finance lessons out of the brand new book that I hadn’t even cracked open all semester in a short couple of weeks. I was in panic mode. I scrambled to get the work done. I had two days left and I wasn’t positive that I could finish in time.
It was the last day for seniors. Optional finals week cut our year shorter than the other underclassmen. Everyone else was flying out the door and smoking the tires on their parents’ cars as they left campus. I, on the other hand, was sitting in the library, looking at the clock and banging out personal finance lessons.
Six hours later and the end of the school day, I turned in the completed personal finance work for the semester. The teacher I turned it into was not a happy camper. She had to grade the work and either pass or fail me. A youngster, I felt like my entire existence was riding on her shoulders. How could I face my friends and tell them that I would not graduate? How embarrassing would that be?
A half hour later, which seemed like an eternity, the teacher came out to tell me the results. She could see the fear in my eyes as I waited. I was trying to read anything I could off of her facial expressions or the way she walked to see if I could get any kind of idea of whether or not I passed. She walked up to me and said, “Congratulations. Looks like you’re going to graduate.” I was so relieved. I did it. I graduated high school. Now it was my turn to go smoke the tires. (Hopefully, Mom isn’t reading this.)
The summer went by and I slowly started to lose my passion for becoming a professional golfer. I played well, but it seemed like when I went to the course I spent more time in the proshop talking to my friends than practicing. I was in denial about the whole situation. It was a dream of mine to play on the PGA Tour, wasn’t it? Confusion started to set in. It wasn’t too long ago when I gave up baseball to play golf.
My practicing was slowing down and my drive for playing golf was sputtering out. I had just a few weeks for tryouts on the University of Oregon Golf Team. Only a month ago I was begging the coach to give me a shot even though I would be a freshman. Yet again, I was faced with a turning point in my life. I convinced myself that I wanted to play golf. I wanted to be a PGA Touring Professional.
My lack of enthusiasm over the summer was giving me second thoughts, though. I had no backup plan. All my experience was in golf. My only job was in golf. I was getting cold feet. What was going on with me?