The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the SwingThought.com Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the SwingThought.com 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 SwingThought.com Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with former College of Charleston golfer Paul Brown. Brown is a SwingThought.com Tour member who won the tour's Carolina Summer Series money title last year.
Q: You played collegiately at the College of Charleston. What is your most memorable golf moment from your time playing in college?
College golf is a memorable experience. It is hard to pinpoint just one incident because there are so many. The best thing that I have taken with me from college golf is the lifelong friendships that have developed through my teammates.
Q: What do you remember about the time you spent selecting a school? How did you end up deciding on the College of Charleston?
I actually didn’t decide on going to the College of Charleston until two weeks before school started. I was enrolled at another D1 school with a promise to be on the team but probably wouldn’t play until I was a junior. Coach, Mark Steelman, called me at the end of July and asked me if I would give them a chance. I knew my friend, Kyle Bradley, was going there so I went for a visit. I fell in love with Charleston and the College.
Q:What was the toughest adjustment going from collegiate golf to professional golf?
After college, I stopped playing golf to attend graduate school at the Citadel. Having been out of competition for numerous years, the biggest obstacle was regaining tournament toughness and trusting my ability.
Q:How have you found that your practice routine differs in your professional career than during your time in college?
As you develop as a player you find your strengths, weaknesses, and overall tendencies that occur under pressure. Since turning professional, I have been able to better evaluate my game and work on the aspects that are troublesome under pressure.
Q: How often, if at all, have you changed how you practice in your time as a professional?
I would say over the past few years I have put more of an emphasis on getting my short game sharper. The short game to me is the most boring part to practice but pays the greatest dividends in the long run.
Q:What is the best piece of golf advice you have been given?
Convert your weaknesses into strengths. In the game of golf everybody’s good shot is good. This is a game of misses so make sure you can keep your misses in front of you. In tournaments when you are able to turn poor ball-striking rounds into par or better you know you are there.
Q: Growing up, what golfer or golfers were your favorites? Did you try to emulate any of them in your play?
My favorite golfer growing up would have to be Phil Mickelson. I was amazed at the shots he could pull off with a wedge in his hands. Still to this day he is impressive to watch. It is beneficial to watch and learn from someone who has mastered a particular aspect of the game.
Q: You have had a lot of success on the SwingThought.com Tour Carolina Summer Series – winning four times last year and the money title. What about the series has brought out the best in your game?
The majority of the tournaments are based in the Myrtle Beach area. The golf courses are not overly long and more target oriented and play to my strengths. The Carolina series has allowed me to better my course management skills.
Q: What has been your favorite event to play on the SwingThought.com Tour?
There are so many good tournaments, but if I had to narrow it down I would say the Milton Martin Honda Classic in Gainesville, GA. The golf course is well suited to my game and through the pro-am I have become close with the family of Dr. and Mrs. Pepper Brown. It is always nice to travel to a place where you feel like you are home.
Q: Several alumni of the SwingThought.com 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 events are run first class and the players on the ST Tour are extremely good. The pro-ams and pairing parties leading into the events make you feel appreciated. The ST Tour staff is very courteous, they listen to player feedback, and they want to see you succeed.