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 Duke standout Julian Suri, a three-time member of the PING All-Region Team and All-American in 2012.
Q: You were an All-American at Duke – what were some of the things you learned playing in college that helped you as a professional?
I think the two biggest things were being able to play a schedule that took us all over the country, being able to play different styles of courses with different grasses and really test my course management skills. Also, having 7-10 guys that were very competitive not only in qualifying but whenever we were practicing, it always pushed us to be at our best.
Q: What was the toughest adjustment going from collegiate golf to professional golf?
In college, there are a lot of people associated with the team whose job it is to make sure things run as smoothly as possible, but when you leave its a much more independent, which is actually nice but still takes an adjustment to trust yourself to prepare your own way.
What would you say best helped you transition to professional golf?
I would say my family and friends from back home in Florida. College can be a kind of a break from reality, and I could always count on my close circle to keep it real with me when I'm home either from breaks in school or now from tournaments.
Q: You recently won the National Pro Series event at Ameilia National Golf Club after a playoff. How, if any way, did you approach a playoff situation differently than any other hole?
I've always enjoyed playoffs because it feels so much like match play, except with sudden death involved so its all or nothing, similar to a tennis tiebreaker. In those situations I feel i get focused on the task at hand because there is such an importance on the short term and a sense of urgency. I know I've been playing well to be in that situation so there's no need to change anything, just keep doing my thing and be aggressive.
Q: What are your goals for the remainder of the season?
Get off the mini tours!!
Q: What aspect of your golf game do you spend the most time working on?
It depends on whats going on, but lately I've spent a lot of time on being more dependable with my long game. The best part of my game has always been getting the ball in the hole regardless of how I'm hitting it, so when I'm hitting it well, it bodes especially well.
Q: What is the favorite hole you got the chance to play in college? What about on the Swing Thought Tour?
In college it would have to be #16 at Cypress Point, just a gorgeous place. On the Swing Thought, I thought the 17th hole at River Hills in Myrtle Beach was a really cool par 5, made you think about where you had to place the ball.
Q: What would you say is the best round of golf you ever played?
Hopefully my next one!
Q: What other interests do you have outside of golf?
Music, tennis, movies, meeting new people.
Q: Several alumni of the Swing Thought Tour have gone on the great success on both the PGA and European Tours. What about the Swing Though Tour prepares golfers for continued success as they progress through their careers?
I think the little things help like having walking events, a consistent schedule, quality yardage books and pin locations. But more than anything being able to perform when the stakes are high and the field is strong, is great for confidence, on any level.