Golfing for Good
“So what does he play on?” is one of the first questions I get asked when I tell people that my husband is professional golfer. We both wish the answer was as easy as “Web.com Tour” or “PGA Tour,” but for Chris, and most other professional golfers, we are stuck in the land of other. Chris likes to tell people that he’s a mutt and is playing anything and everything he can, and that is really the truth. His 2017 season has been comprised of Monday Qualifiers, Mini Tours, Regional Events, and Pro-Am Tournaments.
Most recently, we were up in Minnesota for one of our favorite events of the year, The Tapemark Charity Pro-Am. A pro-am is a tournament where amateur golfers are paired with a professional golfer. Within this one tournament there is pro event, a team event, and an amateur event. The pro event is like any other tournament, there is a cut and you play your own ball (no scrambles, handicaps or silly stuff), man with the lowest score at the end of the tournament wins. The extra challenge for the pros comes in the form of the team event. Your team relies heavily on you for lining up putts, grabbing yardages, helping with club choices, etc. So whereas in a normal event you can solely focus on your own game, in a pro-am you also need to assist your teammates whose handicaps could range from 0 to 32. It's like being a player and a forecaddie at the same time.
Sounds tough, right? Well there are some major benefits to playing in a Pro Am.
- Benefits Charitable Causes – Chris's childhood coach used to tell him that “golf makes good people." You don’t need to look much further than a pro-am to see that the saying is true. Most of these tournaments are charitable events with entry fees and donations benefiting a good cause. For over 44 years, The Tapemark Charity Pro-Am has been improving the lives of people living with developmental disabilities. Through this annual golf tournament, they have raised and donated over $7 million dollars to non-profit agencies serving people with disabilities and their families. (Check out this link if you’d like to learn more about the Tapemark Charity.)
- Larger Purse Sizes – Mini Tours are a for profit business which means that when Chris pays his entry fee, only some of it is going into the purse for the players. The rest is going into the tour's pocket. Since pro-ams are often run by non-profit groups, 100% of his entry fee goes into the purse. In addition, the purse is usually subsidized by the generous amateur teams’ entry fees, making it a better entry fee to payout ratio for the pros.
- Meet Great People – We’ve been fortunate enough to get paired with some really awesome guys over the last few years of playing in this event. They are great dads, great businessmen, and have become great friends over the years.
- Improve Mental Toughness – “Competitive Golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch course, the space between your ears” – Bobby Jones. Between the long rounds and added distraction of assisting your team, these pro-am events are guaranteed to throw you off your rhythm. Playing in tough conditions, if done right, can help improve your mental toughness.
Our Tapemark Weekend Recap:
We look forward to the Tapemark every year because it is one of the only professional golf events that Chris plays in our home state of Minnesota. At this stage, professional golf can be a really lonely sport. Between the cross country drives, hotel hopping, and the individual nature of the sport, you get a lot of “you” time. The Tapemark is a good reminder that we aren't alone on this journey. Every year we are lucky enough to have friends and family who come out to show their support as spectators and sometimes even as a caddy. On top of that, this tournament has become somewhat of a University of Minnesota Golf Team Alumni reunion. It's fun to see our friends who on the same journey and connect over dinner and drinks.
To sum up our weekend, the golf was good but the people were better. On the course, Chris hit it great all weekend but in the end didn’t make enough birdie putts. He shot -5 for the 3-day tournament to end up T7. While not the win we were hoping for, it was a good weekend of golf with a lot of positive takeaways. Off the course, we had a fun weekend seeing our families and catching up with Chris’s University of Minnesota teammates and their wives/girlfriends. We left feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle a long summer on the road.