A Family's Love for Golf Leads Them to South Florida for a Championship
By Keith Stewart, PGA
PGA Professional, Pete Ballo on the ninth hole during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course on May 20, 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
“The fact my two sons can have such a tight relationship through competitive golf is a dream come true.” – Page Ballo
The 46th National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship will be contested this week on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. 132 of the Association’s best will be competing to become the 2022 Champion. For some this is a year-long goal, others a pleasant competitive surprise but for Peter and Mike Ballo, PGA, it truly is a family affair.
For the Ballo boys, golf is more than a competitive endeavor this week. Mike and Peter grew up in a PGA family. Both father Mike Sr., and mother, Page, are PGA Professionals. As Peter puts it, “Golf was our choice growing up. Mike and I played all sports but going to the club with mom and dad was a way of life.”
Mike Sr.’s playing resume includes 6 Major Championship appearances and Page played college golf with Beth Daniel and Betsy King. It’s no wonder the Ballo boys are two of the nation’s best playing Assistant Professionals.
“It’s very special. This is our fourth or fifth time playing in this tournament together and to have a friend to travel with, talk to after the round and prepare with is so special.”
Page takes it even further when asked how proud she is.
“Mike Sr. and I tried to introduce the boys to so many different sports and activities. Having two children who love each other and can share these experiences through the game that has meant so much to our family is amazing.”
Amazing indeed when you consider both boys excelled on the ice rink and baseball diamond.
“I think the boys really started developing their relationship as teammates; growing up together playing team sports,” said Page.
Peter was an excellent ice hockey player and Mike an all-star at baseball. Mom and Dad always led a successful competitive example, but the boys were able to choose their path.
“Mike and I would go to the club and participate in the sports camps. There was swimming, tennis, activities, and golf. If we didn’t want to do golf that day, we played more tennis.”
The Ballo family was honored with the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association’s Family of the Year Award in 2021. A list of past winners that includes the Harmon’s, Nicklaus’ and so many other hall of fame families. Page was humbled when she and Mike Sr. received the call. The effect she and her husband have had on the game extends so far past the amazing play of their two sons.
“We all love and support junior golf. When a parent brings you their child for junior golf schools and you taught them to play the game as well, that’s a generational impact on the game.”
That influence extends through both boys as Mike coaches at Westchester Country Club and Peter at Connecticut Golf Club. They both continue to build the Ballo legacy for getting others involved in the game. The lessons Peter has learned from his dad and mom when it comes to playing have been invaluable.
“My father taught me tremendous course management. Mom’s a great putter and always stressed the big picture. No one shot or round defines who you are.”
2022 has been a difficult year for Page, Peter, and Mike. They lost Mike Sr. in the Spring. The patriarch of the Ballo golf foursome passed away. Peter honored his father’s passing by winning the Connecticut State Open this past summer. Mike and Peter continue to build the Ballo playing legend by qualifying for national events like the National Car Rental PGA Assistant Professional Championship.
Page won’t be able to travel to South Florida this week to watch her sons play. She teaches children with special needs. Of course she does, because as we all have learned this family affair extends far beyond the game of golf.
Follow the action down at PGA Golf Club this week HERE!