Golf, Air Force Academy, Tom Whitney discussed on No Laying Up

No Laying Up


Let's get back to tom whitney well. Usually i like to start with background but You know i wanted to make sure we. We chatted a lease a little bit of golf before we got into. What makes your story unique. And i think we'll kind of circle back around on some more technical gulf stuff as well. But in your my. Where's where's your background story. Start you don't see a lot of people go from the air force academy to professional golf wondering if you could tell us a little bit of that story. Yeah so i'll to go just quickly leading up to the academy i. I grew up in northern california and lake tahoe area. The two guys just in reno-tahoe area and somehow picked up the game of golf at age. Seven where in tahoe where it snows nine months out of the year so i didn't grow up scanner snowboarding. I grew up playing golf and wants my brother. And i kind of really developed some solid golfing talent. My parents amid a genius decision to move all of us down to southern california and and mccain to palm desert area. And i mean that place you have one hundred and fifty golf courses within thirty minutes of driving everywhere. You look every corner just like starbucks tres. a golf course down there and So that's that's what i did as a as a kid i'd i'd go to school and then i play golf and thousand babysitter. That was my role model. That was my mentor. It was it was just being immersed in golf and learning how to get better and learning life lessons through the game and then my brother who's two years older than me in school he got recruited to play at the air force got me and And then threw him being there. I've got to visit campus and met. The coach saw. The team saw the facilities and really just thought it was a a neat place. I won't say that. I grew up with a ambition to serve my country from a young age. I don't have a long history of dad grandfather. Great grandfather all also in the military. My grandpa was a will to pilot but that was the extent other than my brother. But i thought it would be really fun to follow her brother's footsteps and check it out and the fact that he was already there like i mentioned i met to coach and also got recruited to play there and just just kind of ended up there and and freshman year is absolutely terrible. I wanted to leave every single day. Christmas break let's terrible about it so you start off with a six week boot camp. And that's in june july and august but it's six weeks of basically working out every day doing exercise. You don't wanna do your getting yelled at whistles. They don't really use logic you know. If you're the first guy out there in line will then you're just going to be the guy that's in the frontline. Rest the push-up position. The longest amount of time for six weeks. You can't really do anything right but on the on the other side of things the cadre side. They're they're breaking these basic cuts down to where they ha. They have no other option but to rely on one. Another to get through this. You cannot get through basic training on your own. If if you don't make friends and ask for help you have no chance of getting through. Some of my closest relationships are from people in my in my freshman squad. People i went through basic training with people. I graduated with from the academy just because it it's hard and you're going through it together you're taught to rely on others just to survive and so out of basic freshman year freshman year. I remember sleeping in a lot of classes. Even if you have an off period. I remember fallen asleep in in bathroom. Stalls or or or empty classrooms because oftentimes. You don't even want to go back to your your room if you have an off period because you've got a traverse across campus which means you're running on these perimeter marble strips on the square in between all the buildings if someone's curious just google toronto so at the air force academy and the outer marble strips is what freshmen have to run on. They can't cut corners. That can't go in straight lines. They got to run this perimeter. Once you get in the hallways you have to address every single upperclassmen by their name rank. You have to memorize information about them if they have if they're seniors. Juniors you got know a car. They are what car they drive. What they're studying hometowns. You know just access pressure required a memorizing it and again you can't do it on your own. You gotta lean on your classmates flash cards to learn all this stuff. Yeah so so yeah you you just kinda learn how to hide out like that's that's why i said instead of going back to your your classroom off period you just kind of find someplace to hide out. Take a little nap. Do whatever you gotta do. And then the highlight of the day is is lunch because you get to your teammates and then go down to practice. And so yeah. Those first five hours of the day are pretty pretty grueling and then you get to escape down the golf course and a man the golf course facility at the air force academy is just absolutely gorgeous. It's it's backdropped on right up against the mountains in colorado springs have thirty six holes there now. The golf team has their own locker room. Short game area. Driving range Indoor hitting facility surreally. It's started to become a five star facility and but it was pretty cool to be able to call this place home for four years. So yeah just just a circle back. You know that. That's a freshman year's is you have all these kind of silly rules that you have to hold their to kind of break down to teach you to well. They're supposed to teach you how to manage time and and not procrastinate and somehow slipped through but once you once you earn all of your rights back as upperclassmen starting that sophomore year. A lotta that extra stuff kind of goes away and then it's just it's just more classes and and golf So life kind of got a lot more normal starting a sophomore year other than i studied social sciences. That was my major. But i think one of the reasons i chose that was that was the least number of credits to graduate but i still think that number was one hundred forty six or one hundred and forty eight credits because the gen ed at the academy is just so stout it was tough. But you know you graduate and you get that diploma from the air force academy and i mean it. It opens a lot of doors Let me tell you the. I've been able to lean on the just the brotherhood and fraternity of not only the alumni group at the academy but I've i've had support from every single service whether it be army. Navy marines air force just. It's pretty cool because me being one of the one of the few veterans out there that are playing professional golf anyone that's tied to the military is is eager to kind of be part of my support and be willing to lend a helping hand if if i need it whether it's host housing or support otherwise i mean i've got a lot of people rooting free in my corner just from the military alone. Yeah gosh i believe that as i say on top of all that now go out and play golf too is is a challenge that you're trying to deal with but tell me about your career post academy your career in the airforce and some of the interesting things you've got to got to do with the air force so in two thousand and ten. When i graduated from that season that i actually cracked the top twenty five in the individual rankings on golf week or golf stat or whatever that is so. That was when i kind of realized that okay. I'm gonna eventually try fulltime golf as a as a career path. Now when you graduate from the kademi you also a number of years. service back. That's not a bad thing. I mean you graduate debt free from the academy and then you have a guaranteed job for five years..

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