I still remember the day I fell in love with golf. A cool early-summer morning in Pennsylvania, I stepped onto the first tee of our local public golf course. After a few months of whacking golf balls around my parents back yard, this marked my first endeavor into the sport on a proper course.
Peering into my bag, I surveyed the mixed set of blade irons and old woods that had been given to me by a family friend. Selecting the McGregor 4-wood, I took a mighty lash and smacked a high fade down the middle of the fairway, toward the green. I was hooked.
It took little time before I set my goals on one day chasing the dream of pursuing a career on the PGA Tour. As a teenager, I vividly remember spending full summer days practicing, playing, and working toward that end goal. Despite success at local and state level events during my high school years, I lacked the big-name junior event experience to attract the attention of the larger Southern universities I had set my heart on attending. Ultimately, I made the tough decision to attend Clemson University and focus more effort on landing a good job rather than going to school to play golf.
The decision seemingly paid off as I was able to land a job in the banking industry with a large US based bank. After starting my career in Charlotte, NC, I soon found myself moving to New York City to join the Capital Markets team and have the opportunity to work with some of the sharpest people on the street.
As my banking career progressed, I continued to play golf as much as life in the city and the long working hours would allow. 9pm range sessions at Chelsea Piers and the 7am Saturday morning train to Bethpage Black became the norm as I tried hard to keep my game in tournament-ready shape.
A few years in the city was followed by a move back to Charlotte, where I could ditch the train and spend more time playing the game I loved. I figured more weekends on the course and only 60 hour work weeks would leave enough time to quench my thirst for golf.
Soon after making the move, I began routinely thinking back to my early decision to forgo golf and contemplated if I was destined for a career in banking. Sure, I enjoyed the work, liked my colleagues, and the financial security of the job was great. But could I go through life always wondering what if I had given it a shot and pursued professional golf? After two years of thought, debate, and a lot of prayers, I decided I could not.
And so after 7-years, today is my last day in banking.
Tomorrow begins my first day chasing my lifelong dream of playing on the PGA Tour. I will maintain Amateur status in the near-term and will compete in a full schedule of Amateur events, while focusing on honing my game to the level required to compete on the professional level before declaring pro.
Candidly, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to pursue this dream if it weren’t for the unrelenting encouragement of my wife, Brittany. More than just entertaining my crazy idea of leaving behind the comforts of a great job, she has supported me and pushed me to follow my heart in this decision.
I’m looking forward to getting out on the course, grinding on the range, and pushing myself to get better at this game I love. Many challenges and uncertainties undoubtably lie ahead, but I’m looking forward to the journey as a professional golfer.
The Dapper Drive blog will continue to provide content on great golf courses, golf trip ideas, and men’s on-and-off course fashion inspiration. We’ll also be blogging about life on the road and the ups-and-downs on the path to becoming a professional golfer.
For those of you who may be considering pursuing your passion, surround yourself with the people who believe in you and your dreams. And above all, believe in yourself and remember – if you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never get it.