Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

A conversation with a Drive, Chip and Putt national finalist

Published

on

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend all of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National since the inception of this amazing initiative. I’ve also been extremely lucky to have attended the Masters each of the past 10 years that I have been a PGA member. Each year, I’m still like a kid on Christmas morning when I walk through the gates at Augusta National, but nothing compares to my first trip in 2010. I was in absolute awe. For anyone that’s been, you can surely agree that Augusta National and the Masters Tournament is pure perfection.

The past few years at DCP finals, I couldn’t help but notice the looks of sheer excitement on the faces of the young competitors as well as their parents. That led me to reaching out to one of this year’s competitors, Briel Royce. A Central Florida native, Briel finished second overall in the 7-8-year-old girls division. She is a young lady that I know, albeit, not all too well, that competes in some of my youth golf organization’s Tour series in Florida. I spoke to Briel’s mom at Augusta and then reached out to the family after their return to the Orlando area to get a better idea of their DCP and Augusta National experience…

So how cool was it driving Down Magnolia Lane?

Briel: “Driving down Magnolia Lane was awesome.  Usually, you do not get to experience the scenic ride unless you are a tour player or a member. Everyone got extremely quiet upon entry. There were tons of security along our slow ride. Seeing the beautiful trees and the Masters Flag at Founder’s Circle in the distance was surreal. Having earned the right and opportunity to drive down this prestigious lane was breathtaking. I would love to do it again someday.”

What was the coolest part of your time at Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National?

Briel: “Everything was cool about the DCP. Not too often do you see people taking walks in the morning with green jackets on. We were not treated like kids. We were treated like tour players, like we were members at Augusta. The icing on the cake was when they took us to the practice green and we were putting alongside Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel. Everyone was confused when we first got there because we weren’t certain we should be putting on the same green around the pros. Again, we were treated like we were tour players. Where else would I be able to do this? Nowhere other than DCP at Augusta. One of my favorite reflections is having Bubba Watson watch us chip and congratulating each of us for our efforts. He did not need to do that. He took time out of practicing for a very important week in his career to support the DCP players. I think his actions show what the game of golf is about: the sportsmanship, the camaraderie, and support.”

How did you prepare for the finals?

Briel: “I prepared just like I did for every other tournament, practicing distance control, etc. But to be honest, you really can’t practice for this experience. The greens are like no other. The balls roll like they are on conveyor belts. I didn’t practice being in front of so many cameras, Bubba Watson, Condeleeza Rice as well as many other folks wearing green jackets. You need to practice playing under extreme pressure and scrutiny. When it is game time, you need to just do your thing and concentrate; have tunnel vision just like the ride down Magnolia Lane.”

What tour pros did you get to meet and talk to?

Briel: “WOW! I spoke to so many tour pros while I was there. I spoke to Keegan Bradley, Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Zach Johnson, Mark O’Meara, Gary Player and Patrick Reed. I also met up with the U.S. Woman’s Amateur Champion, Jennifer Kupcho, and 14-year-old baller Alexa Pano. I’m still in awe!”

 

How fast were those greens?

Briel: “Those greens were lightning quick. The balls rolled like they were on a conveyor belt; you didn’t know when to expect them to stop. Had I practiced these speeds a little more, I would have putted the 30-foot like a 15-foot and the 15-foot like a 6-foot putt.”

I also wanted to ask Briel’s parents a few questions in order to get a better idea from the standpoint of the mom and dad, on what an increasable experience this must have been.

So how cool was it driving up Magnolia Lane for you guys?

Mom and Dad: “Going down Magnolia Lane was a dream come true and we wouldn’t have EVER been able to do it without Briel’s accomplishment. Driving down was so peaceful; the way the trees are shaped like a tunnel and at the end of that tunnel, you see the Masters Flag and Founder’s Circle. Just thinking about all the legends, presidents, influential people driving down that road and we were doing the same thing was extraordinary. We appreciated how slow the driver took to get us down the lane for us to take it all in. A lot of tears. It was heavenly.”

What was the coolest part during your time at Drive, Chip and Putt and Augusta National?

Mom and Dad“The coolest part was seeing 9-year-old Briel compete at Augusta National! Seeing the whole set up and everything that goes into making this event what it is, we have no words. They made these kids feel like they were royalty. We are so truly blessed, thankful, and grateful for everything that was provided to Briel to make this a truly awesome experience. We don’t want to share too much as it needs to be a surprise to anyone else that’s reading this that may make it there.”

How impactful do you feel this initiative is to golf in general?

Mom and Dad: “You can’t possibly make any bigger impact on golf than to let golf’s future attend the best golf course and the coolest event, Drive, Chip and Putt at none other Augusta National during Masters week. The day after the event, we had a handful of people walk up to Briel to tell her that she was an inspiration to their older daughters who now want to play golf. They even requested a picture with Briel; how cool! This initiative is definately, without question, growing the game.”

It goes without saying that you were incredibly proud of your daughter but what may have surprised you most on how she handled this awesome experience?

Mom and Dad: “We are so incredibly proud of Briel! She handled this challenging and overwhelming experience very well for only being 9 years old. She was cool, calm and collected the whole time. The atmosphere at Drive, Chip and Putt can chew you up if you let it, but she didn’t let all of the distractions get to her, she embraced them.  Out of all the competitions she participated in to earn her invitation to Augusta, we truly feel she treated this whole experience like she was not at a competition but a birthday party where she was having a blast. She made many new golf friends and we met amazing golf families we anticipate spending more time with in the future. You don’t get to go to many parties where Bubba Watson is hanging out with you like he’s your best friend.”

Your Reaction?
  • 14
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW4
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Brendon is a PGA Golf Professional in Central Florida. He is the passion behind Little Linksters, LLC, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development (501c3) and the Little Linksters Golf Academy, now at Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood, FL. Born and raised in the small upstate New York town of Norwich, Brendon is the oldest of three and turned 43 in May of 2018. He is married to his wife of almost 19 years, Melisa and they are the parents to a beautiful daughter who was born in March of 2005 and a son who was born in August 2009. He began his golfing life when he was about 12 years old at the Riverbend Golf Club in New Berlin, N.Y. After a few years at Riverbend his father joined the Canasawacta Country Club in their hometown of Norwich, N.Y and Brendon began playing golf as much as he possibly could. He joined the boy’s varsity golf team at Norwich High School his freshman year and played all four years during high school, however, a broken hip and foot injury sidelined him for a bulk of that time. He returned to full strength his Senior year and played anywhere from the 4th to 1st spot on the very strong team. He finished 10th in the Conference Championship, shooting an 80 on a cold and blustery late fall day. When he was 15, Brendon started working in the proshop at the Canasawacta Country Club. It was his first job and it was the start of his life in the golf business. After his high school graduation, Brendon attended the State University of New York @ Delhi and majored in Golf Course Operations. While at Delhi he was a member of the men’s golf team. Upon graduation from SUNY Delhi, he moved to the central Florida area to officially begin his career in the golf business. Brendon has been working in the golf business for twenty-five plus years and is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the true leaders in the junior golf and growth of the game arena. After a successful run of 13 years at the Winter Park Country Club, the last 5 of those years as the GM & Head Professional, Brendon turned his attention toward growing the game of golf for kids of all ages but with a focus on children ages 3 to 10 years old. Brendon founded the Little Linksters Golf Academy at Metrowest Golf Club in August of 2011. The Academy later moved to Wekiva Golf Club in January of 2014. Elliott now serves in an ownership and manager role with the Academy while he works on other projects including his 501c3 nonprofit, The Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. In January of 2013, Elliott became a PGA Staff Professional at the Golf Academy of America in Apopka, FL. In December 2018, after 44 years in business, the Golf Academy of America closed its doors for good. Elliott is the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award winner. He is also a 2010, 2011 & 2012 US Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher, a 2013 US Kids Golf Master Kids Teacher, a 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 Top 50 Growth of the Game Instructor as named by the Golf Range Association of America, a 2017 & 2018 Elite Status Top 50 Growth of the Game Instructor as named by the GRAA, the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ECC Junior Golf Leader, the 2013, 2014 & 2017 ECC Horton Smith award winner, and the 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 NFPGA Junior Golf Leader award winner. He was a finalist for the PGA’s National Junior Leader award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 before winning the prestigious award in 2017. In January 2014, Little Linksters was named the 2013 ING (International Network of Golf) Player Development Award winner. Elliott has appeared in or been a contributor for numerous golf media articles with publications such as Golf Business Magazine and PGA Magazine as well as PGA.com and PGAMagazine.com. His contributions have included topics ranging from Social Media to Junior Golf. Elliott was a guest on the Golf Channels Morning Drive in April of 2013 along with Dottie Pepper and Alan Wronowski. The threesome spoke on many different junior golf initiatives that are available to children of all ages. Elliott also appeared on Morning Drive in October of 2016 as part of Junior Golf Week as well as in October of 2017 and January of 2018. Elliott is a sought-out speaker on Junior Golf with a focus on children ages 8 and under. He spoke at the 2012 Proponent Group Annual Conference in October of 2012 which was held at Cog Hill Golf Club near Chicago. The event was held in conjunction with the 2012 Ryder Cup. Elliott spoke at the 2013 Southeastern Junior Golf Summit at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta on November 4, 2013. He was also a presenter at the 2014 PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit held during the week of the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL and Little Linksters G.O.A.L.S. program was featured at the 2016 PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit, also in Orlando. Elliott served in the role of Secretary, Vice President, President and the Honorary President of the East Central Chapter of the NFPGA Section from 2009-2016. He was also a NFPGA Section Board member from 2009-2015. He has also served as Chairman of the ECC Junior Golf Committee as well as the Co-Chair of the NFPGA Junior Golf Committee. Brendon was also a member of the PGA of America’s 2012-2014 National Youth Player Development Committee and the 2010-2012 & 2012-2014 Public Relations & Communications Committee. He is currently a member of the 2018-2019 PGA National Awards Committee. With the closing of the GAA, Brendon will now focus his full time once again on the Little Linksters Golf Academy, Little Linksters, LLC and the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development (501c3). Brendon is available for Private Coaching through his long-range coaching packages of 6, 9 or 12 months.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Nack Jicklaus

    Apr 18, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    What a great story!

  2. dj

    Apr 18, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Heart warming story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 2putttom

    Apr 18, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Outstanding !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Opinion & Analysis

5 most common golf injuries (and how to deal with them)

Published

on

You might not think about golf as a physically intensive game, but that doesn’t change the fact it is still a sport. And as with every sport, there’s a possibility you’ll sustain an injury while playing golf. Here’s a list of the five most common injuries you might sustain when playing the game, along with tips on how to deal with them in the best way possible so you heal quickly.

Sunburn

While not directly an injury, it’s paramount to talk about sunburns when talking about golf. A typical golf game is played outside in the open field, and it lasts for around four hours. This makes it extremely likely you’ll get sunburnt, especially if your skin is susceptible to it.

That’s why you should be quite careful when you play golf

Apply sunscreen every hour – since you’re moving around quite a lot on a golf course, sunscreen won’t last as long as it normally does.

Wear a golf hat – aside from making you look like a professional, the hat will provide additional protection for your face.

If you’re extra sensitive to the sun, you should check the weather and plan games when the weather is overcast.

Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This group are the main muscles responsible for swing movements in your arms. It’s no surprise then that in golf, where the main activity consists of swinging your arms, there’s a real chance this muscle group might sustain an injury.

To avoid injuries to this group, it’s imperative you practice the correct form of swinging the club. Before playing, you should also consider some stretching.

If you get an injury, however, you can recover faster by following RICE:

Rest: resting is extremely important for recovery. After an injury, the muscles are extremely vulnerable to further injury, and that’s why you should immediately stop playing and try to get some rest.

Ice: applying ice to the injured area during the first day or two can help. It reduces inflammation and relaxes the muscles.

Compress: bandage the rotator cuff group muscle and compress the muscles. This speeds up the muscle healing process.

Elevate: elevate the muscles above your heart to help achieve better circulation of blood and minimize fluids from gathering.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist tendons can sustain injuries when playing golf. Especially if you enjoy playing with a heavy club, it can put some strain on the wrist and cause wrist tendonitis, which is characterized by inflammation and irritation.

You should start by putting your wrist in a splint or a cast – it is necessary to immobilize your wrist to facilitate healing.

Anti-inflammatory medicine can relieve some of the pain and swelling you’ll have to deal with during the healing process. While it might not help your wrist heal much quicker, it’ll increase your comfort.

A professional hand therapist knows about the complexities of the wrist and the hand and can help you heal quicker by inspecting and treating your hands.

Back Pain

A golf game is long, sometimes taking up to 6 hours. This long a period of standing upright, walking, swinging clubs, etc. can put stress on your back, especially in people who aren’t used to a lot of physical activities:

If you feel like you’re not up for it, you should take a break mid-game and then continue after a decent rest. A golf game doesn’t have any particular time constraints, so it should be simple to agree to a short break.

If you don’t, consider renting a golf cart, it makes movement much easier. If that’s not possible, you can always buy a pushcart, which you can easily store all the equipment in. Take a look at golf push cart reviews to know which of them best suits your needs.

Better posture – a good posture distributes physical strain throughout your body and not only on your back, which means a good posture will prevent back pain and help you deal with it better during a game.

Golfer’s Elbow

Medically known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow occurs due to strain on the tendons connecting the elbow and forearm. It can also occur if you overuse and over-exhaust the muscles in your forearm that allow you to grip and rotate your arm:

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is the way to go to alleviate the most severe symptoms of the injury at the beginning.

Lift the club properly, and if you think there’s a mismatch between your wrist and the weight of the club, you should get a lighter one.

Learn when you’ve reached your limit. Don’t overexert yourself – when you know your elbow is starting to cause you problems, take a short break!

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK14

Continue Reading

Podcasts

TG2: Our PGA picks were spot on…and Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball

Published

on

Rob picked Brooks to win the PGA and hit the nail on the head, while Knudson’s DJ pick was pretty close. Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball and we talk about some new clubs that are going to be tested in the next couple days.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Vokey Wedge expert Aaron Dill

Published

on

In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with Titleist Tour Rep Aaron Dill on working under Bob Vokey, How he got the gig and working with names like JT, Jordan and Brooks.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Your Reaction?
  • 6
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK18

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending