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Before Their Professional Golf Careers Took Off

Aug 17, 2007
Ever catch yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to walk the links with your own personal caddy at a PGA golf tournament instead of watching all the action unfold on TV? Wondering if the right training and mentoring could someday help you channel your talent and passion for the sport into your own professional golf career?

While it might seem like a far fetched idea that would hardly turn into a reality, just remember all of the great golf legends. Take for example some of the true icons of the game like Lee Trevino, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. These individuals learned the sport inside and out and have realized such huge success and amazing accomplishments throughout their professional golf careers.

It might be difficult to imagine these stars focusing on anything other than golf since incredible drives, chip shots, and putts seem to go hand in hand with the mere mention of their names. But here's a rare look behind the scenes at where some of golf's greatest players got their starts and where the game took them.

Perhaps with one of the most interesting stories, is Lee Trevino's. One of golf's first and finest players grew up with little money and began working at an early age to help his family make ends meet. He started working in cotton fields and found his love for golf shortly after as he began caddying at a local course. Before making a professional golf career for himself, Trevino also served four years with the U.S. Marines.

Starting out on the college track, crowd favorite Tiger Woods first attended Stanford University. He left school after a few years to focus on golf and turned pro in 1996 at the age of 21. Other college bound pros include Phil Mickelson who attended Arizona State University where he studied psychology. Tom Lehman who got his degree in business and accounting. Fred Couples went to the University of Houston.

Taking a look back at some other players also proves that golf was not always the sport these legendary names started out playing, but rather, the one they stuck with in the long run. For example, Davis Love III, a big name on the course today, had a real affection for ice hockey in his younger years. Fellow teammate Lee Janzen took up baseball as a kid and spent his summers participating on Little League teams. He also pursued tennis for a while before realizing golf was the sport he liked and played best.

Other sports enthusiasts include Ernie Els who took his hand at rugby, cricket and tennis before turning pro in 1989 and starting his professional golf career. Like Els, Vijay Singh also played cricket and rugby when he was younger and dabbled in soccer before settling on golf and turning pro in 1982.

With golf as their main focus, many pros can't seem to get enough of the sport and have kept with it in other ways. Fred Couples has done work involving golf academies, equipment companies and clothing lines. Tom Weiskopf has helped design several courses across the nation and spent time as a golf analyst on TV.

So as you can see, not every professional golfer started out on the greens. Many pursued other educations, sports and hobbies and some even had to take it upon themselves to create their own opportunities. It just goes to show that with the right training, focus and determination, a professional golf career can be achieved if you're up for the challenge.
About the Author
Andy West is a writer for SDGA. San Diego Golf Academy is a premier golf school with five locations across the United States. For information on how to start your professional golf career , please visit www.sdgagolf.com/golf_careers.php .
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