The experience of competing in professional golf is something truly profound. A year ago, I made the decision to become a golf professional and ultimately devoting my career to research and applications in helping others improve their golfing abilities. In order to understand the game at it’s highest level, I took the step in returning to the competitive environment and competing on the New England Golf Tour for my first time as a golf professional. With the help of a few sponsors including the East Hartford Golf Center and Bernheimer Lincoln Insurance Group, my season began at Bradford Country Club in Bradford, MA.
I spent a few weeks previous priming myself for competition. My last competitive event was a 2nd place finish in a Connecticut Amateur Tour Major at Lyman Orchards in 2011, so it’s been quite a while. I started by playing some competitive matches with some great players I grew up with. I definitely developed some competitive confidence in doing so. The next step was in preparing for the course.
A couple days before the event I took the two and a half hour drive up to Bradford for a practice round with the co-captain of our good old high school golf team, Larry Brennan. Probably one of the only guys I trust in helping me map out a course. Making our way through the quirky and undulating track of Bradford CC, we found some great attack strategies and bail out zones. It was one of those courses where you’d have to place your ball in good position to shoot a good score. If not, it could be very penalizing. After all the prep work was done, my confidence was pretty high for my first event as a golf professional.
Game day comes and it was a pretty neat experience. Being able to talk to a couple of the local pros and guys you’ve only heard of was really cool. However, once you set your ball down on a tee and the announcer calls “quiet on the tee”, all eyes are on you. ” Now on the tee from East Hartford, Connecticut. Fabio Colon.” It was a nice experience having other pros clap for you but with as nervous as I was, hitting that first tee shot was a mystery as to where it was gonna end up. Fortunately, I hit a pretty decent shot up the right side of the fairway just trickling into the the rough. For the next three holes, nerves persisted pretty well. By the end of the third hole I found myself +4. After gathering myself and getting settled in, I went on to shoot even through the next 9 holes. The course was in absolutely great shape with some of the most manicured putting greens I’ve putted on all year. It was a pretty wet day from rain earlier that morning but the ball still rolled very nicely. Due to a few bad breaks on the back nine I ended up with a score not quite reflecting my play, but was overall pretty satisfied with my first professional appearance. I am really excited front next start and look forward to being competitive now that I have the confirmation of my abilities as a golf professional.
Tomorrow it’s back to practice and refinement. I will be working very hard on short game and putting for the next few weeks. Those two are the bigger keys to competing at a high level. My next event will be a return to Bradford CC on July 22. Check back for more shared experiences and other exciting posts!