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A GCAA Interview with SwingThought TOUR Member Luke Hopkins

The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the SwingThought TOUR, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the SwingThought 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 TOUR alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.

This month we spoke with former PING All-Region player at Clemson.

Q: How long have you been playing golf? At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally? 

Golf was the first thing I ever did when I could stand up. After the national championship in 2010 I was content with not playing professional golf. I was fortunate enough to meet some extremely nice guys who were willing to give me a chance and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Making new friends and competing against them week after week has been awesome.

Q: You played collegiately at Clemson. What about your time playing in college do you think has helped you the most as a professional? 

Our team was incredible at Clemson. Not only did I get help from hall of fame coach Larry Penley and assistant coach Jordan Byrd, I got to compete on a daily basis with Ben Martin, Kyle Stanley, Sam Saunders, Phillip Mollica and many others. I'll never forget being able to play with those guys at incredible courses every day.

Q: Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when playing collegiate golf?

I wish I knew how lucky I was to play the sport in college. You never realize what you had until its gone. I carried my work badge on my golf bag every round for a long time to remind myself I was PLAYING a sport and not working one. It made it much more fun.

Q: What was your favorite part of playing golf in college?

My favorite part of college golf was playing incredible courses with my best friends. I got to play Wade Hampton, Sage Valley, and Augusta National, with my best friends.

Q: You’ve been playing well this year on the SwingThought TOUR – including making a playoff at The Patriot at Grand Harbor. What do you attribute the success to this season?

I attribute all my success this season to going back to basics and having fun. If I have fun playing golf I never seem to play poor. Prepare myself well and just enjoy the opportunity I've been given to compete.

Q: What are some of your best memories of your time on the SwingThought TOUR?

I've really enjoyed getting to know all the rules guys and competitors. My favorite experience so far would be Compass Pointe. The host families and members along with SwingThought staff really did an outstanding job at that event.

Q: Have you changed the way you prepare for a tournament at all over the years – or have you followed a fairly consistent routine?

I really just focus on areas of my game that seem to struggle at the moment. Preparation could fluctuate but mostly I just play more than practice and try to see how fast I can get the ball in the hole. Dressing well is key too. As my good friend Ben Martin says "if you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good".

Q: What is your favorite golf course you have had the chance to play?

Sage Valley is definitely very high up there, but no where could ever beat getting to play Augusta National.

Q: What are some other interests you have outside of golf?

Music is by far my favorite interest outside of golf. I've played the drums since I was 13 and guitar for 5-7 years. Most people know I am a VERY big Dave Matthews Band fan.

Q: What advice would you offer current collegiate golfers that would like to pursue professional golf in the future?

Be realistic about it. Prepare to the best of your ability and then go have fun. Millions of people would give their life to be in our shoes playing professional golf. Prepare, then execute and have fun.