A Q&A With SwingThought.com Tour Member and Big Break Winner Jimmy Brandt
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 Jimmy Brandt. Brandt recently won Golf Channel's Big Break Myrtle Beach and will be playing this season on the SwingThought.com Tour.
Q: You recently were a competitor on and won Big Break Myrtle Beach. What was the best part of that experience?
The best part was the experience underneath the cameras. Never really experienced anything like it. Also, I loved the crew and cast; everyone was fun to work with!
Q: How was the experience different than competing in other amateur or professional tournaments?
The biggest difference was having to wait in between shots. Then having to hit a shot inside 5 feet or it's not good at all. Then there is the pressure, more pressure than I have felt in all the years of my career.
Q: Can you explain the process of how you got the opportunity to compete on Big Break?
Big Break offers a few auditions before the next episode. They see a lot of people so you need to stand out. For example, have a great story, great resume, cool personality, or something that is good for tv.
Q: As a part of the prize package for your win on Big Break you received free membership and entry fees in all SwingThought.com Tour Pro Series events in 2015. What is that sense of security like knowing you have the membership for the year?
Out of all the prizes I won this is one of the best!!! Having a free place to play for a year is huge. A lot of people out there don't know how much money us mini tour guys are spending. Entry fees are one of the biggest expenses and I'm really blessed the SwingThought.com Tour has given me this opportunity.
Q: What are your goals for the season on the tour?
I really just want to play good golf. Playing good takes care of everything. In our sport one great week can change your life.
Q: You also received an exemption to the 2015 PGA TOUR Valspar Championship in March. How much are you looking forward to your first PGA TOUR event?
I have been waiting patiently for about 5 years now to play in a PGA TOUR event. It's finally gonna happen and I just hope I can perform to my capabilities. It's going to be an incredible week no matter what!!!
Q: You actually started playing golf later than many of your peers. Can you talk a little about how and when you got started playing?
I started when I was about 15. I was actually a very good baseball player and wanted to play in the MLB. Well, one year I came back to school and all the kids grew twice as big as me. I couldn't compete at a high level being a small fella. Then my dad said "well you know there is a sport for short slow kids like you". He is the one who got me into golf. I picked it up very quick and was beating him the next year at 16 years old. Pops had a scratch handicap.
Q: Do you think there are some advantages to starting the game at a later age?
The only thing I could think of is maybe the burn out factor. I was just starting at the age of 15 and some kids had already been playing for 10 years. I was so excited and enthusiastic about the game at 15 it was all I did every day. Some kids might have been burned out.
Q: What do you like to do in your downtime off the golf course?
I like to spend time with my family and pets. I'm gone so much during the season I have to get as much quality time as possible with them. Love to fish. Fishing is my getaway from everything.
Q: Finally, what advice would you impart to young golfers dreaming of a career in professional golf?
I would say learn how to play golf. I mean learn how to get yourself around a golf course. I have never been the best ball striker out there but I am one of the smartest, which has been a big part of some of my success. Finally, learn how to GRIND (I believe this is the biggest difference between a guy who will make money professionally and one who will not!!!).