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 Seth Fair, a current NGA Pro Golf Tour member. Seth played collegiately at the University of Indianapolis, where he was a two-time PING All-American and two-time Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar.
Q: You had your first win on the NGA Tour earlier this year at the Loudmouth Golf Central Florida Classic. How did it feel to get that first win?
It was very satisfying. I have often been able to put myself in position to win on the NGA Tour though never finishing it off. To be able to best a solid field that week proved to me what I had always believed I could do.
Q: What is your outlook for the remainder of the year after getting that win in January?
I look to continue my good play on the NGA Tour Pro Series. If I keep putting myself into contention I think that the win this winter can only help my confidence coming down the stretch. I want to continue to get better. A goal of mine is to win an NGA Tour Pro Series event this year.
Q: You played collegiately at the University of Indianapolis – what were some of your best experiences as a college golfer?
My favorite experiences were traveling to tournaments and always being around my teammates. The group of guys we had on our teams became some of my best friends so it was fun to be around them every day. We were able to win a lot of tournaments, which is always fun. My best experience has to be the NCAA Championships my senior year. Although my team didn’t qualify, I was able to as an individual and play in the NCAAs in Indianapolis. Being able to play in front of so many of my family and friends and to walk my last 72 holes of college golf with Coach Nicoson was incredible. It was an experience I will never forget.
Q: What about your experience playing in college do you think helped you as you became a professional golfer?
The discipline college golf demands of you in the classroom and on the course prepared me for professional golf. At times on the road, it is solely up to you to get things done and make sure you are preparing yourself each week. I didn’t play many golf tournaments growing up so being able to play every event taught me how to score my golf ball as best I can on good days and bad. It really helped to learn and be able to improve each year.
Q: Are there some things about professional golf that you find similar to college golf? Are there also some differences that stick out?
To me, golf is golf. Someone once told me the hole is the same size everywhere. This is so true because regardless of the event, who’s playing, or what you’re playing for, when you tee it up you are trying to shoot the best score against the golf course you can. In that sense, college and professional golf are similar. The obvious difference between the two is you are trying to make a living as a professional. I am away from home more often and for longer periods of time. As a professional, you are playing year round so it is important to pace yourself and to not get to emotional how you play each day.
Q: Are there some things you learned in college, outside of golf, that you think helped prepare you for a professional career?
Again, I think discipline is a huge part of playing well professionally over a long period of time. Being focused enough to continue to want to get better is huge. Coach Nisocon created an environment at UINDY that allowed us to continue to improve. I think surrounding yourself with good, positive people helps tremendously. Coach Nicoson always stressed being respectful and well-mannered on the course and to volunteers/spectators because there is always someone watching. This has helped me manage my emotions on the course and appreciate the fact people come watch and volunteer their time to help run golf tournaments because they love the game of golf; something that can be taken for granted at times when you golf every day.
Q: What are your earliest memories of playing golf?
My earliest memories of playing golf are going to the driving range with my Dad and two brothers. I never had formal lessons when I was younger so I watched my Dad and tried to emulate what he did. Also, whenever we visited my grandparents in southern Indiana, my grandpa would always take us golfing. He had a net on his back porch we would always hit balls into all the time. He and my Dad are the biggest influences in golf and sports.
Q: At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally?
It wasn’t until my senior year of college when I even thought of playing golf professionally. I started taking my first lessons from my instructor Jon Hoover after my junior year. We worked extremely hard together and I finished my senior year ranked #1 in Golfstat rankings for DII. I continued to get better every year and saw people I played against in college having some success so decided it was something I wanted to try before I regretted it later in life.
Q: What interests do you have outside of golf?
When I’m not golfing or traveling, I try to enjoy being home as much as possible. I like to spend time with my fiancé and see my family and friends. I am pretty easy going so I am up for doing about anything. I enjoy to fish. Some friends and I like to walk creeks and fish for small mouth.
Q: Several alumni of the NGA Tour have gone on the great success on both the PGA and European Tours. What about the NGA Tour prepares golfers for continued success as they progress through their careers?
The NGA Tour is the best representation of the PGA Tour you will find at the mini tour level. Their schedule of weekly events simulates a Tour event with multiple practice days, ProAms, and multiple events in a row. Many of the players have the ability to play on both the Web.com and PGA Tour on any given week. Facing this strong competition every week teaches you how to make cuts, go low, and to put four good rounds together. I believe that if you can win on the NGA Tour you are capable of winning at any level.