GCAA interview with Virginia Commonwealth alum Lanto Griffin
The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the Swing Thought Professional Golf Tour (formerly the NGA Hooters Tour), features a monthly Q&A with former collegians who have played on or are currently playing 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 with hundreds going on to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with former Virginia Commonwealth player Lanto Griffin, the 2009 CAA Player of the Year.
GCAA: What factors drew you to playing for the Virginia Commonwealth in college?
Griffin: Originally, I had my heart set on staying in my hometown and playing for Virginia Tech. Actually, I didn’t really consider other schools until I realized Virginia Tech didn’t have any players graduating or scholarships opening up the year I was set to come in. I had met Coach Ball at the Scott Robertson a few months earlier and he had shown great interest. So then I decided to take an official visit to VCU and really liked the international feel of the team. Looking back it was a great decision to get away from the comfort of home to the capital city of Virginia. Coach Ball and VCU gave me a great scholarship all 4 years and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
GCAA: What is your fondest memory of your time in school?
Griffin: Honestly, having coach to plan all of our trips, drive us to the tournaments and pay for food and hotels. Now that I’ve spent 5 years being my own personal travel agent and fundraiser, I really appreciate the 4 years I was basically paid to represent VCU and improve my game. Also, sharing all the great memories with my teammates. I owe a lot of my success to the support that VCU gave me for those 4 years.
GCAA: What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were a collegiate golfer?
Griffin: To grind out every shot possible. I remember getting so frustrated on days I wasn’t playing well it made it hard to think straight.
GCAA: What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a professional golfer?
Griffin: Keeping my head above water financially. Mini-tour golf is not glamorous in any way besides the fact that you’re doing what you love every day, which makes it worth the struggle. Every good check buys me a few more months to chase my dream of playing on the PGA Tour and every missed cut is the opposite. I try my best to use that as motivation to work harder and never take the opportunity for granted, because you never know how long it will last.
GCAA: You had your first victory earlier this year on the Swing Thought Tour Pro Series at the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic. What were you feeling after making the birdie on the first hole of sudden death to win the event?
Griffin: Relief, excitement and happiness. I read a quote a while back that said happiness comes from achievement. When you work so hard at something and you feel what it’s like to be on top, even if it’s just that one week, it’s pretty special. Next time I’m in that situation I’m going to know I can pull it off under extreme pressure.
To read the Full Interview please visit here on the GCAA home website www.collegiategolf.com
About Swing Thought Tour
Since its establishment in 1988, Swing Thought Tour alumni have won an amazing 17 Major Championships. Alumni include two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Masters and Open Champion Zach Johnson, PGA Championship winners Keegan Bradley, Shaun Micheel and David Toms, Open Champions Ben Curtis, Stewart Cink and Tom Lehman, U.S. Open Champions Jim Furyk, Lee Janzen, and Lucas Glover, Open and PGA Champion John Daly, Tour Championship winners Chad Campbell, Billy Mayfair, and Camilo Villegas, and recent PGA Tour winners such as Matt Every, Robert Streb, Ben Martin, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson, Ted Potter Jr., Gary Woodland, Chris Kirk, John Senden, Brian Harman, Brendon Todd, Chesson Hadley, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, and many many more. In addition, 89 of the 150 players competing in the 2014 Web.com Tour Q School Final Stage were past players on the Swing Thought Tour.
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