The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the NGA Pro Golf TOUR, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the NGA 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 NGA TOUR alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with Chris Ross, a current NGA Pro Golf Tour member. Chris played collegiately at Eastern Michigan. Earlier this winter Chris had three straight NGA Winter Series wins, followed by a runner-up finish at a fourth event.
Q: Earlier this year you had an amazing three events in a row on the NGA Tour Winter Series. What was your experience during those three tournaments like?
It was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I was doing a good job of staying in the present during all of it. But it all hit me when it was all over! Sam Ryder played a great round of golf to nip me!
Q: Have you ever had a streak like that before?
I have never had a streak like that. I think those are very rare. Golf is all about riding your hot streaks.
Q: You grew up in Canada and played collegiately at Eastern Michigan. How did playing golf in the north help shape your game?
Playing at Eastern Michigan helped me because I played in a lot, I mean a lot, of different conditions. Snow, rain, heat, wind, etc. I like playing in crappy condition because you don't have to do anything special. And wouldn't you know it the streak I had was in some tough conditions!
Q: What is the coldest weather you ever played in?
The coldest weather could have been Timacuan this year or Shingle Creek three years ago. Either way I try to block those ones out!
Q: What experiences as a collegiate player do you think have helped you as a professional golfer – both on and off the course?
In college you need to balance your school and golf. I might not have done that as well as I should have but it has lead me here. And I think I have been balancing life on and off the golf course for a while. A three year-old might make you do that!
Q: How have you found that your practice routine differs now than from your time in college?
In college golf you had teammates to push you and to motivate you. I was really lucky to have great friends and great players at EMU. Now it's a way I provide for my family so I have to find my own motivation to go our and practice and play. Again, a three year-old can do that!
Q: What aspects of playing professionally were surprises to you?
There wasn't a whole lot that surprised me. It was the fact that I am putting in 'x' amount of dollars and if I don't perform, which I didn't before, then I come out with nothing!
Q: What was the favorite course you got the chance to play while at Eastern Michigan?
My favorite course to play at Eastern was Washtenaw CC and probably Wolf Run or Brickyard (inside the racetrack).
Q: What do you like to do in your downtime off the golf course?
My down time off the golf course includes coloring, doing puzzles, watching Disney movies, playing at the park, bike rides, and reading books with my daughter! And also fight childhood obesity with Project 10 Kids! www.cross49.bodybyvi.com
Q: What advice would you give to college golfers looking to make the transition to professional golf?
My advice for all the players thinking of making the change to pro golf is to forget about the money. Go play! Enjoy golf and be very greatful that you get to be playing golf!