The GCAA Interviews Former North Florida Golfer and Current NGA Pro Golf Tour Member J.C. Horne
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 J.C. Horne, a current NGA Pro Golf TOUR member who was a two time All Atlantic Sun while at North Florida. Horne won the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic earlier this year.
Q: How long have you been playing golf? At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally?
My dad started taking me to the driving range when I was 5 and let me go out on the course with him when I was about 7. I think I was about 12 or 13 when I knew I wanted to play golf professionally I would ride my bike or take the city bus to the course everyday after school, I couldn't get enough of golf. I would often play 9 hole matches with a couple friends after school pretending that it was for a major championship haha.
Q: You played collegiately at North Florida. What about your time playing in college do you think has helped you the most as a professional?
I think time management was the biggest thing I took from college. I put things off until the last minute a lot in college and had to deal with the stress of getting them done quickly. Time management has made me a lot more efficient with my practice and making schedules.
Q: Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when playing collegiate golf?
I feel like I've learned quite a bit since playing in college. A few years out on the road playing professionally will make you grow up pretty quickly. I'd have to say the biggest thing I'm better with now is patience and controlling my emotions. I'm a lot better about not letting a couple bad shots ruin rounds now. In the past I would get fired up and start making rash decisions on the course. I still get fired up at times but I have found a way to turn that anger into making me focus more.
Q: What was your favorite part of playing golf in college?
UNF was a great place to play for. It is tough to sit and think of one particular thing that stands out the most. We got to play a lot of golf at TPC Sawgrass and Sawgrass Country Club. We had an awesome schedule every year and played some incredible courses. The friends I've made are probably the best part though. We had a great group of guys on the team and a lot of them are some of my best friends today.
Q: Earlier this year you had your first NGA Tour Pro Series win at the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic after a 41-hole day. What was the feeling after winning with a birdie on the 5th playoff hole?
It was a great feeling. I've put myself into contention a good bit of times over the last couple years and hadn't got it done yet. I knew I was right there on the back nine and to be able to make a few birdies and then continue to hit really good shots in the playoff was a lot of fun. Having a tap in on the last playoff hole was a rush of excitement and relief.
Q: What are some of your best memories of your time on the NGA Tour?
It is such a well run tour. Every week I show up I feel like I'm playing in a top tour event. The people that run the tour are great and always there to help. The competition I've played against and friends I've made over the last few years is pretty great. It's cool to see how many of them have moved up to the Web.com and PGA Tours. It's nothing but encouragement to see the guys I've competed against moving up and knowing that my time is right around the corner.
Q: Have you changed the way you prepare for a tournament at all between your time playing in college and now on the NGA Tour?
Again, I think that it just goes back to time management. In college I would practice and play a lot and not take much time off. I'm a lot better about knowing how to take time off now to keep from getting burnt out and feel rested and excited about going to future events.
Q: What is your favorite golf course you have had the chance to play?
Probably Pebble Beach because of the history and beauty of the course.
Q: What are some other interests you have outside of golf?
I enjoy going to to the beach when I am home. My friends also make fun of me because I go through lots of fads when I'm home like ping pong, nerf wars, tennis and the most recent is fishing.
Q: What advice would you offer current collegiate golfers that would like to pursue professional golf in the future?
Stay patient and believe in yourself. It's pretty easy to watch what other people are doing and think that's what you need to do. I think it's important to stick with what has got you to where you are, believe in it and make it great.