When Reality Sets In
Several years ago, before I even considered the possibility of moving to Florida and doing anything golf-related, I ran across a new weekly instructional show on Golf Channel. The show is called “The Golf Fix”, and the host is PGA Professional Michael Breed. While golf had been a hobby of mine for most of my life, it was never more than just that… a hobby. When I started watching “The Golf Fix” every week, that was my first time experiencing golf instruction of any kind. I had played the game for years, but never took a lesson. Everything I knew about the game I either learned by myself from watching golf on TV, or I learned it from reading Tiger Woods books.
Every week, I was amazed how much I was learning just by watching an instructional show on TV. The things that were taught on the show just made sense to me. I loved Michael Breed’s energy and enthusiasm on the show. I was learning a lot and I was well-entertained. That is a key combination to staying interested. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Over time, I was even able to use the knowledge I gained from watching the show and pass it along to friends, which was exciting. I love helping people, and I also love watching other people improve and succeed.
Over the next few years, I continued to watch the show every Monday night, and started thinking to myself, “It must be a lot of fun to be able to teach golf for a living. That would be a cool job.”
Well, in December of 2014, I randomly saw a commercial on Golf Channel in the middle of the night one night that caught my attention. The commercial was for Golf Academy of America. The commercial listed all of the school’s campuses, and Orlando was the city that caught my eye. I had visited Orlando for a weekend six years earlier, and decided during that short trip that someday I wanted to live in Orlando. It was freezing cold outside with two feet of snow on the ground at the time, so the thought of moving to Orlando to attend a golf school just made perfect sense to me.
Since Golf Channel’s studio is in Orlando, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was, “Maybe teaching golf is something I could eventually do. I need to find a way to meet Michael Breed and thank him for the inspiration I got from watching his show every week.”
Nine months later, I was living in Orlando and was starting school at Golf Academy of America. I hear people say all the time that they could never pack up and leave behind the only life they’ve ever known to start over in a new city and new state. I loved the life I lived in North Dakota. It was a dream come true, but I knew I had gotten to the point where I needed to make a change. To me, it just made sense to pack up and go. I could figure out a plan later. I just needed to go. It was like removing a Band-Aid… the more slowly you do it, the harder it is and the more it hurts. You just have to rip it off and get it over with.
In January 2016, when I started my second semester at Golf Academy, I had the opportunity to volunteer at PGA Demo Day in Orlando and then attend the annual PGA Merchandise Show, as well. I had watched live TV coverage from the PGA Merchandise Show for years on Golf Channel, but never in a million years thought I would be able to attend the show. Getting to attend the PGA Show was a huge thrill. Even more exciting for me, was when I found out that Michael Breed would be there filming an episode of “The Golf Fix”. I knew this was my chance to meet him.
When I arrived at the Orange County Convention Center, the first thing I did was find the Golf Channel’s setup. I just happened to arrive right as filming began for “The Golf Fix”. I stayed there for two hours and watched the show being filmed.
After the show, Michael Breed was standing next to the show’s set talking with some people. I patiently waited for them to finish their conversation, then went up to Michael and introduced myself to him. We had the exact conversation that I had been hoping to have with him. It was a fantastic experience. I told him I was a Golf Academy student and that I was interested in possibly becoming an instructor after I finished school. He gave me some words of encouragement and wished me well before he had to leave.
About eight months after that meeting, while I was still finishing school, I began teaching a weekly junior golf class in the Orlando area. My life was pretty hectic at the time and I was just beginning to learn how to teach golf, so I didn’t take much time to think about anything other than the things I was teaching each week.
Now, a year later, I had a moment this past week that really made me stop and look back at how much my life has changed in such a short time. A video was posted on the Facebook page for “The Golf Fix” last week in which Michael Breed was teaching a mini lesson to some junior golfers. The video was recorded at the same course and same practice facility where I now teach every week. In the background of the video, I could see the exact spot where I teach my classes. This past weekend during my class, I looked across the driving range at the exact spot where that video had been recorded. That was the first time it hit me that I am, for the second time in my life, living my dream. A lot of people chase crazy dreams in their life and never reach them. Those dreams never become reality for them. I am 32 years old, and am getting to the point where I am living my dream for the SECOND time!! I got a bit choked up when that realization came to me. Believe me, I am FAR from being successful in my new journey, but that moment was the first time where I realized, “I am here! I am doing this!” I can’t think of any better motivation to keep going and to keep improving than to experience a moment like that.
I watched Golf Channel for years and thought it would be cool to see where the shows on that channel were recorded. I’ve now not only been in the Golf Channel studios, I have also been on Golf Channel multiple times when they have filmed clips for Junior Golf Week.
Every March, I watched the Arnold Palmer Invitational on TV live from Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando. Watching that tournament got me excited for summer every year. It was the time of year in North Dakota when I started to clean my clubs and swing them for the first time to prepare for the upcoming golf season. I have now visited Bay Hill, played there multiple times, volunteered at the Arnold Palmer Invitational twice, and have friends who work at the club. Three years ago, I would have laughed if someone had told me that would be the case someday.
I now have friends in the golf industry and have met people I never would have guessed I would get to meet. In just over two years of living in Orlando, I have a lifetime of stories to tell.
My advice to anyone who is chasing their dreams, regardless of what those dreams may be, is simple… nothing is impossible. If you want something badly enough, you can make it your reality. Stay focused and don’t give up. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t do something. You CAN do it. You just have to go for it and make it happen.
I will be spending my weekend volunteering at a junior golf tournament, and then teaching golf. I will be doing all of it with a smile all weekend long. It’s pretty unbelievable to be able to live my dream for a second time. I look forward to enjoying every second of it!
Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!! Go out and live your dreams!