PGA Professional, Mike Thomas and 2022 PGA Champion, Justin Thomas during the Trophy Presentation the 2022 PGA Championship at the Southern Hills on May 22, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
The PGA of America was built upon a foundation of mentorship. The best example of mentoring many of us experience is that of a parent to a child. On the PGA TOUR, for a few players, that exists from father to son. One of the formulas for success for these players stems from this perpetual principle of the PGA. It’s no surprise that if you want to develop into a touring professional, man or woman, beginning that journey with a PGA Professional is extremely important.
So, what if that PGA Professional was your parent?
Justin Thomas and Cam Young were born into PGA of America families. Both are the sons of PGA Members who taught them to play at a very young age. JT, who is a two-time Major Champion, is passionate on the course, and seems to openly accept a leadership role for the American’s in team competitions.
Arnold Palmer Award winner Cam Young burst on the scene in 2022 in his first year on the PGA Tour. We watched him grow right before our eyes and marvel at his poise. He was the runner-up at the 150th Open Championship. He finished 3rd place at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yet, when you speak with Cam, he’s more likely to mention something other than his accomplishments. That important perspective comes from a very grounded upbringing.
Neither of these two just walked onto the PGA Tour. Though their success seemed to happen overnight, it took time to develop. Both players had to play a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour to earn their cards. In a time where most players switch coaches as quickly as they change putters, these two have stayed committed to their fathers. Yes, Mike Thomas, PGA is Justin’s full-time coach and David Young is Cam’s.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the mentor or the apprentice, coach or the student, the point is to have one of these relationships. You can easily see how impactful a relationship like this can become.
You may not have a PGA Professional in your family or friend circle, and that doesn’t matter. Go find one in your community and build a bond. Watching two of the best in the world work with their fathers is incredible. But there’s a role model and PGA Coach out there for everyone.
As we continue to watch the growth of Justin and Cam, don't wonder what would happen if you tried their path with a PGA Coach. Get up and go do it. There’s a reason why the PGA of America has been successfully coaching in this game for over 100 years. Experience it for yourself and soon you’ll feel why all of us who are part of that student-teacher bond are so lucky.
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