Each month the SwingThought TOUR and long-time corporate partner Golf Coaches Association of America will feature a member on the TOUR. The GCAA September interview was conducted with STTOUR Member, and Clemson Alum Luke Hopkins.
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.
About SwingThought TOUR
The SwingThought TOUR, wholly owned and operated by Golf Interact (Golf Interact acquired the former NGA Hooters Tour and eGolf Pro Tour), has proven year after year to be the most outstanding avenue for players to display and develop their skills in an extremely competitive atmosphere. The SwingThought TOUR is the only Professional Tour in the country, to offer a series of events, besides the PGA and Web.com Tours, which offers a full week of activities that include 72-hole (36-hole cut) tournaments, free practice rounds, free sponsored beverages and snacks each week, free range balls, paid participant pro-ams, long drive contests, and shootouts at selected events. The SwingThought TOUR provides players the opportunity to experience all aspects of life as a true touring golf professional. The schedule is structured around geographical series and different varieties of championship golf courses to subject our players to any type of course they may face at golf’s highest levels. The SwingThought TOUR is operated by a knowledgeable staff who are PGA and USGA certified. As evidenced by the success of our alumni, The SwingThought TOUR is the most proven avenue to the PGA and Web.com Tours. SwingThought TOUR alumni have won an amazing 17 Major Championships. Most recently, 87 of the 150 players who competed in the 2015 Web.com Tour Q School Final Stage were past players on the SwingThought TOUR.