Interview with Jordan Griggs from the Dapper Drive
Today we are launching a new blog series where we are interviewing professional golf players about their road to going pro and advice they have for other players. I am super excited to have Jordan Griggs from the Dapper Drive on the blog today where he shared his unique golf story.
1) At what age did you start playing Golf?
I started playing golf when I was 12 years old. I basically had been playing football, baseball and basketball so I liked being a multi sport player. One day I was watching ESPN and Tiger Woods caught my eye; his intensity for the game made golf seem exciting. In a way, he brought emotion into the game that I have never seen before and the fact that he was younger really appealed to me. So, I played casually for a year or two and then when I was 14, I stopped playing football and focused my attention on golf only. Growing up in the Northeast, in Williamsport, PA, I was the first member of my family to pick up golf.
2) How did you learn about golf since no one in your family played it?
I started learning more just by meeting other younger players at local courses and learning about tournaments within the state. We did trips to Pittsburgh and Philly for golf tournaments. I actually started with a set of random clubs from family friend, so a mixed bag of random clubs. After a year or two I became more serious about the game and my grandparents bought my first set of clubs. I began playing in small tours in my hometown of Williamsport PA and got a small book on the rules of Golf to better comprehend the rules. Etiquette was picked up by meeting people at the club and from other golfers. I just started watching a ton of golf on tv and learned through watching the players; I would wake up and watch European tours and everything golf related. I would also watch the guys at the practice range and see how they were practicing. I even read books about golf 101 which can help introduce you to the game. The more I integrated myself into the world of golf the more I wanted to learn.
3) When did you know you wanted to go pro?
Since I started playing golf later in life, I did not get good at it until I was a junior or senior in highschool. When it was time to apply to college, I debated between 1) attending a smaller school where I could play on the team or 2) attending a big university in the southeastern US, where I’d likely not be on the collegiate team. Ultimately I went with the latter in choosing Clemson University. While I wasn’t on the collegiate golf team, I felt that the other aspects – bigger school, warm climate, good business program – met all the criteria I wanted in a university. The great weather allowed me to play golf 5-6 days a week year round and I found competition in the form of joining the Golf Club Team. I played in amateur events each summer so I continued to improve my game and stay competitive despite not being on the collegiate team (which was a top rated team in the country). I was just a college kid and had no money so decided to work on my career. I lived in Charlotte then NY for work and pursued a career in banking. I still hit some balls in the city and every weekend I would go to a golf course to play on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Years went by but the desire to play professionally was bubbling up; it was like that dream had never really left me. When I moved back to Charlotte, it was a step towards that dream.The intent was to be back in a warmer climate where I could play golf year round and determine if I did in fact want to pursue pro golf.
After 2 years back in Charlotte, I decided to leave my investment banking job to pursue professional golf full time. I turned professional in January 2016, and began living/traveling full-time by camper. There are pros and cons to what I did. Most peers are right out of college and they are getting funding from parents or sponsors, but I am funding myself. I had to raise money for myself and I did not expect to work so long to do it. I am in late twenties now but the beauty of golf is that you can play forever assuming you are healthy.
4) What do you love about the game of Golf?
It is a sport that constantly changes from day to day even when you play on same golf course which keeps you challenged and intrigued. It’s addicting, you want to keep doing it again and again. Another aspect is that it’s not just a physical game; the more you play the more your mental state affects it.
Although golf is certainly a physical game, the mental side is just as important. As your physical ability improves, the mental part of the game becomes that much more important. Being in the right mental state can have a big impact on your ultimate score. Even when you’re swing (aka physical part of golf) is off, with the right mental state you can still put together a good round. A strong mental state is a huge advantage on the course.
5) What are some tips you have for other golf players? For Junior Players?
Best tip for Golf player- be patient, I think golf is a sport where you are always looking at leaderboards, it’s easy to get down on yourself or frustrated if you are not playing well. Most guys don’t make the PGA tour until they are in their 30’s. So if you are 15, that is fifteen years from now. If you are down on yourself, you are almost too into it, you see kids get burnt out early.
Don’t spend every waking second practicing. When I had limited time to practice, it was not the amount but how you spent time around golf course. Enjoy things off the course so you don’t burn yourself out too early; still keep your interest.
6) Who do you look up to today?
Jason Day. He is playing so well but there was a time not many years ago, he was fighting a thumb injury. I started following him and he had high expectations when he came out on tour but then faced many hiccups along the way. He was always persistent, worked hard, and stayed patient. Now he is in late twenties and is not only on top of his game but also the top of the golf world. There will be many bumps in road, you may have injury or play poorly but stay patient and persistent and work hard and eventually if you do the right things you will get to where you want to be.
Since turning pro, I have competed on the Dreamchasers Tour, Pepsi Tour and Golden State Tour. I plan to compete on the gPro Tour this summer and play in web.com qualifying school in the fall.
What wonderful insights from Jordan’s story and if you want to share your tips on turning Pro, leave a comment below.