A Q&A with Swing Thought Tour Member Grant Leaver
The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the Swing Thought Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the Swing Thought 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 Swing Thought Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with former Austin Peay golfer Grant Leaver, a three-time All Ohio Valley Conference player and winner of the 2015 Woodcreek Classic on the Swing Thought Tour.
Q: At what age did you start playing golf? At what point did you realize you wanted to play golf professionally?
I started playing at age 11. I would say it was around the age of 14 that I knew I could play professionally if I worked hard.
Q: You played collegiately at Austin Peay. What about your time playing in college do you think has helped you the most as a professional?
College was a grind for me. I was avery good ball striker but I was good at putting a round together. That's probably the best thing I learned...that even if it isn't pretty I could still compete.
Q: Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when playing collegiate golf?
I wish I knew how to practice putting and how to use wedges properly. I was pretty good in college but no where close to where I am now with short game and that's largely in part to knowing how to practice and what to practice on.
Q: What was your favorite part of playing golf in college?
Going on the road to compete was much more fun having a team. I would say that was the best part of college golf and much like every other sport- the friendships that were built.
Q: Earlier this fall you picked up a win at the Swing Thought Tour’s Woodcreek Classic in a sudden death playoff. Is your approach to the way you play any different when you are in a sudden death situation like that?
Yes but no. You must still make decisions that you are comfortable with but at the same time not shy away from hitting the shot that will win the hole.
Q: What are some of your best memories of your time on the Swing Thought Tour?
The wins stand out of course. But looking back and recognizing what you do in order to play the game you love is humbling. They may not be the best memories all the time but they define part of who I am.
Q: What is your practice routine like before you tee off in a tournament round? Have you changed this up much over the years, or has it been consistent?
It's definitely evolved a bit but for the most part it's remained the same length of time. An hour is all I need and that's intentional. I want to view my warm-up and just that...a warmup. There's no need to work on anything before the round, that's reserved for after the round.
Q: What is your favorite golf course you have had the chance to play?
I was blessed enough to take a 3 day trip to Pine Valley. We played 4 rounds there and it was great experience at a special place.
Q: What do you like to do in your downtime when you aren’t playing?
I focus lots of health and fitness off the course but other than that I play the guitar, keep up to date with the latest news/political issues, and I spend time with my church family. I used to answer this with basketball but have recently decided to not play due to my commitment to golf and that's been hard because basketball was my first love. I miss playing it very much!
Q: What advice would you offer current collegiate golfers that would like to pursue professional golf in the future?
Commit yourself now and become one of the best at the level you are currently competing in. You have to be willing to do the things that others won't do. But that being said you must be patient and give yourself time to develop. Also, when you see someone hit a shot, particularly a wedge shot or chip, that you know you couldn't do, don't be too proud to ask them how to hit it...that's something I wish I would have done more often when I was younger.