The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the Swing Thought Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the Swing Thought Tour. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there. More than 250 Swing Thought Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with former Georgia Tech golfer Anders Albertson, the 2015 Byron Nelson Award winner, member of the 2015 United States Palmer Cup team, and a four-time All-ACC performer.
Q: You played collegiately at Georgia Tech. How did you determine where you were going to play in college?
There were several factors for me choosing GT. I lived in Woodstock, Ga, which is about 30 minutes away from Georgia Tech. I was aware of the reputation the school had academically and the weight a degree from there carried in the professional world. I had a very good relationship with Coach Heppler through the recruiting process. I knew there were more guys on the PGA Tour that graduated from Georgia Tech than any other school so I trusted his guidance. Additionally, I knew several of the players that were on the team and saw the incredible practice facilities that the team had at their disposal.
Q: As a senior you were named the Byron Nelson Award winner. What did it mean to you to receive this honor?
It was the greatest award I have received in and out of the game of golf. To even somewhat be associated with the legend that is Byron Nelson is truly flattering. Mr. Nelson was one the finest gentleman the world has ever seen, while being one of the most fierce and talented competitors. His citizenship and character set the standard for all of us to emulate both on and off the course. I carry the honor and responsibility of receiving this award with me everyday.
Q: What qualities that you possess do you feel most helped you become the Byron Nelson Award recipient?
The Lord has truly blessed my life with great family and friends and mentors. I’ve just listened.
You are the 4th Georgia Tech golfer to win this prestigious award. Do you feel Coach Heppler played a role in preparing you and the past winners for this award?
It’s no coincidence by any means that it seems to recur at Georgia Tech under Coach Heppler. His leadership is inspiring and he always does so by example. The culture he creates provides young men the opportunity to not only be the best they can be on the course, but in the classroom, in the community, and in their relationships with their friends and family. Its something that will always be at GT under his leadership. Its bigger than just one person.
Q: Also while in school you got the chance to represent your country playing in the Palmer Cup. What did you enjoy most about that experience?
It was such a huge honor. Arnold Palmer came out and was very involved throughout the week, which was very special. However, representing the United States with my head coach, Bruce Heppler, and good friend and teammate, Ollie Schniederjans, is something that I’ll never forget.
Q: Now that you have transitioned to the professional game what are some of the major differences you have noticed between the pro and college games?
I was very fortunate to play one of the best college schedules in the country through my career at GT. I definitely think that has helped my transition into the arena of professional golf, however there still were some adjustments and things that I had to learn in my time on the Swing Thought Tour. There were so many more competitors throwing low numbers up on the board no matter what the weather was or where we were playing. I had to get used to the thought of having to shoot 20 under par every week to have a chance to win. It definitely made me get comfortable planning to make a lot of birdies every round.
Q: You had your first professional win last fall at the Swing Thought Tour’s event at Echelon Golf Club. How did it feel to get that win under your belt?
It felt really great to come in and learn how to be a professional in the start of the summer and become more and more confident throughout the year, culminating in some really good play in the fall. Ill always remember Echelon.
Q: You recently competed in the final round of Web.com Tour Q School, finishing T45 and earning an exemption until the second periodic re-order of the 2016 season. What does it mean to you to get this status going into 2016?
I feel very fortunate to have a chance to compete on the Web.com Tour right out of college. I know there are many people who never get this chance and I intend to make the most of it every week.
Q: What is the best piece of golf advice you have been given?
Be comfortable with your own ability.
Q: Several alumni of the Swing Thought Tour have gone on the great success on both the PGA and European Tours. What about the tour prepares golfers for continued success as they progress through their careers?
The Swing Thought Tour provides an incredible atmosphere for pros to learn how to compete and win and become their own player against very high level competition. It provided me the chance to mature both on and off the course and transition into a professional athlete. I have many great memories from this summer and I am very thankful that my professional career could start on the Swing Thought Tour.