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June 19, 2024 40 mins
Most athletes walk away from sports because they “get too old.” The opposite can happen in the sport of golf and Matt Schalk is a prime example.  

Growing up in Boulder, Matt was a baseball guy. Until his dad won a game of gin at the local country club and the losing golf pro didn’t have the money to pay up. So, Matt’s dad bartered and got the pro to give golf lessons to his sons. One lesson and Matt was hooked.  

He kept up the game until just before high school. The Schalk family finances were struggling at the time and the pricey sport of golf went on the shelf for a decade. After a couple of years at Metro State, Matt picked up his clubs again and decided he wanted to go pro. He made some money, but usually only enough to pay for the next entry fee.  

Once Matt and his wife started a family, it was time for a real job. Of course he started at a golf course, picking up range balls by hand. He eventually worked his way to what he’s doing now as the GM and Director of Golf at Colorado National Golf Club.  In the meantime, he also turned 50, which meant he could start competing in senior events and trying to make the cuts for bigger tournaments. Not only did he make some cuts, he won some championships. Championships that could turn into much bigger victories than he ever had in his younger years. He truly is getting better with age.
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Transcript

Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
And I go out there and inmy mind, I'm thinking I'm gonna qualify.
I'm going to play in the USOpen. And I shoot eighty eight,
so not even close. The nextyear comes around, I said,
man, this year, I'm gonnaqualify, right, and so I'm working
hard. I send in my entry. I get a letter back from the
United States Golf Association which says,unfortunately, due to your excessive score the

(00:22):
year prior, oh, you willnot be allowed to participate in qualifying.
This year. You couldn't even go. I couldn't even go, you know.
I took that a little bit personal. Welcome to Cut Traded, Fired,
Retired, a weekly podcast featuring conversationswith professional athletes and coaches who have
sat down to tell their stories ofsetbacks and how they were able to move

(00:43):
forward. I'm your host, SusieWargen. This episode's guest brings a new
sport to the podcast, Golf,and this guest also brings the secret to
the Fountain of Youth. Okay,maybe not, but somehow Matt Shawk is
getting better as he gets older.Matt is a native of Boulder who fell
in love with golf at an earlyage, but took a ten year hiatus
from it during his late teens andearly twenties, when he picked up a

(01:06):
club again, he decided he wantedto go pro, and that wasn't easy.
Matt would travel to local tournaments andthose in bordering states, and he'd
win some money, but not enoughto support a family. Once he and
his wife started having children, Mattgot a real job at a golf course.
He worked his way up to wherehe is now as the general manager
and director of golf at Colorado NationalGolf Club. And then something else happened.

(01:29):
After he turned fifty, Matt enteredinto some senior events and came away
with some very big wins, whichcould lead to even bigger wins on the
senior tour down the road. He'sdefinitely getting better with age ladies and gentlemen.
Matt Shock Cut Traded Fired Retired podcastwith Susie Wargen. Hello, Matt

(01:51):
Shock how are you? I'm fantastic, Susie, how are you? I'm
good? Thank you. This isyour time of year, right, summertime.
It's the best golfing weather, rightit is that the heat is out
and I love it. Golf isincredible and it's it's a year round thing,
but in Colorado we get some greatmonths in the summer. Yeah,
and you have got a phenomenal story. You're a native of Colorado and how

(02:15):
you got into golf and now whatyou're doing with golf is pretty phenomenal.
You've almost had these stages of yourgolf career. You kind of keep reinventing
yourself throughout golf, which I thinkis really cool. Yeah, it is
interesting, right as most of uswho are in sports, as we grow
up, we strive to be theseincredible professional athletes and we see ourselves on

(02:37):
these in these big stages, andfor the majority of us, it just
it doesn't happen. Right. Wedream about it, but it doesn't happen.
But because you get old, exactlyright. But but in my case,
I got older and I got better, and we're going to talk about
how that happened when your fountain ofyouth is here. Okay, so you
are born in Boulder, go toBoulder High School. Tell me a little
bit about growing up, what sportsyou loved, and how golf came about

(03:00):
for you. Yes, I grewup in Boulder, which I absolutely loved,
a great place to grow up,and I was really a baseball player.
That was I loved football, andI grew up at the time where
I played baseball and some football withTony Boselli, hall of famer, also
a guest on the podcast. Ijust yeah, when he was in town
a couple months ago, I gothim. Oh that's fantastic, he's great.
Yeah, he's awesome. So Tonyand I we played some football together,

(03:23):
and of course I realized quickly thatwas probably a golf gene that I
didn't know I have. I wasnot going to be a football player on
that side of things. Sam Peganotell you that or did you just figure
it out on your own? Well, Coach Pegana would be very honest,
so I didn't give him the chanceto be able to tell me that.
Oh okay, all right, buthe's fantastic. And Tony and I we
actually played little league baseball together,so I kind of fell in love with

(03:46):
baseball and North Boulder Little League andgrew up playing in Bob Body's baseball camps
over in naiwat and baseball was mything. What'd you play in baseball?
What was your favorite position? Iwas a center fielder, a center fielder
and a lead off hitter, andI was. I was a pretty good
hitter, but I was really goodat defense and I was fast. So
I love that. How much similarityis there now that you are golfing between

(04:10):
hitting a baseball bat and golfing?Is there? Yeah? There is?
There really is, and I thinkI learned that more and more now just
with the core movement. A lotof people talk about how damaging the baseball
swing is to your golf swing andvice versa, and you do see that,
but there's many similarities in the rotationand you know where we keep our
hands through impact things like that.So yeah, it's similar, and you

(04:30):
know it also teaches that athleticism whichis really important in golf today too.
Oh absolutely. Okay, So nowhow you got into golf is a great
story, and this involves your dadin a country club. Yeah. So
I grew up in gun Barrel,which is out by Boulder Country Club.
And my dad was a golfer,but not a good golfer. He was
one that really didn't care about golf. I remember he had all woods in

(04:54):
his bag. I think he hadone sand wedge and arrest for woods.
He'd hit a wood from ninety yardsor eighty yards whatever it was. But
he came home one day. Heloved to play gen he loved to play
cards, and that was his thing. That's what he did. A border
country club. There's a lot ofpeople back in that day very social.
It's very much a social event,yeah, and still do. But he
came home and my brothers and Iwere not golfers. I have two older

(05:15):
brothers, and we ran around playingbaseball and whatever we could do in the
neighborhood. And my dad came homeand said, hey, you guys need
to go up to the golf courseand you're going to learn how to play
golf. And we said, no, we don't like golf, dad,
you know, And he says,well, I just I beat the pro
up there out at gin and hedidn't have the money to pay me.
So I said, that's fine,just give my kids lessons all summer.

(05:38):
Oh my gosh. And you know, I fell in love with it.
My brother's not so much, oneof my middle brothers, he loves it
now. But I was hooked.I was hooked from my very first lesson
and just being around the game andfell in love with Tom Watson and the
rest was history. Twenty five yearslater as a PG member, I'm still
trucking along. That's fantastic, Whata great story. What was on that

(06:00):
first day with that first lesson thatgot you hooked? It's funny. The
golf professionals up there were just amazing. And I say that today now,
even with golf in my business,that they really molded me. And they
were so kind and really wanted toteach you. And you really looked up
to him, right, because asa young kid, you look at a
golf professional and you don't know ifhe's on TV or if he's the guy

(06:23):
pulling the carts at the course,right, And so I didn't know any
different, Right, It's like,well, these guys are professionals. They're
fantastic, you know, and Ifell in love with them. So really
it was a guy named Bobby Tasewho actually played golf at the University of
Colorado and he's a golf professional now. And Bobby is really one of the
reasons that I got into it.You know. He wasn't the guy that
my dad beat out of the beatout of the money at GIN, but

(06:46):
he was one of the younger guysworking up there at the time. How
old are you when that happened.I was twelve years old. I'm thinking
eleven, eleven, twelve years old. Yeah, so you know, for
today's kid that's grown up playing golfat a high level, that's older,
right, Most of them are learningat five six years old. So then,
did you play golf in high school? Did Boulder have a golf team?
They did have a golf team,And it was interesting because I was

(07:09):
I was a great junior, andI played really well, and I was
practicing every day and I was doingfantastic. But at the time, my
parents got in some financial trouble withsome businesses that they had and so forth,
and they had to get rid oftheir membership at the country club.
So for me, it was like, hey, they came home, we
aren't members at the country club anymore. And it was like, okay,

(07:31):
well, I guess I can't golf, and I didn't, so I took
a hiatus until I was in myearly twenties. You just stopped golfing.
I stopped it completely because I don'tknow, it's an expensive sport exactly right.
Yeah, it was. It's expensiveand there wasn't access. And even
back then, you know, kidsweren't really they didn't get a lot of

(07:51):
access to clubs and courses, andthey didn't really want them out there,
it seemed like at that time.So I just stopped it and stuck with
baseball. Oh my gosh, Soyou finished high school at Boulder High,
you go to Metro State. Yeah, how do you get back into golf?
Then? Well, I still thoughtI was going to play baseball,
much like all our kids again,Right, so you're going there and you
dream about I'm going to be inthe MLB, and and it was interesting

(08:16):
because I, you know, Igrew up as a big Denver sports fan,
right. I love the Broncos,I love the Nuggets. And I
was actually a ball boy for theNuggets through middle school and a high school.
Oh no kidding, Yeah, wow, Vic Lombardi and I were together.
Yeah, we were ball boys together. And that's a that's a whole
nother podcast. What I learned fromthat guy? For sure, we all

(08:39):
learned a lot from Vic. Yeah, he's fantastic. But I started my
parents own sports collectible stores. Sothey had one at sixty six at Wadsworth
called the Sports Card Connection. Andso, you know, I'm going to
high school and I'm going to workevery everyday noon working at their sports collectible
store and sorting cards and going throughmemorabilia and working for the Nuggets, and

(09:01):
you know, I'm getting Michael Jordangame U shoes and Spudweb, Dominique Wilkins
and all this incredible memorabilia that Iwish I had today, which of course
do not, and yeah, andhelping out with that. So, you
know, I just one day,I said, you know, man,
I really want to play golf again. So I went over to Indian Tree
Golf Course just early in the morningand I played nine holes and it took

(09:24):
that nine holes to addict to meagain after good ten years off. Wow,
So you pick it back up?Do you finish at Metro or do
you just all of a sudden thentake off and start your dream. I
literally just take off and start mydream, you know again. I think,
you know that I'm going to getreally good and I'm going to find
myself on the PGA Tour one dayor the Nike Tour at the time,

(09:46):
which was going on. And Iwas terrible. Oh right, come on,
you weren't terrible. I was prettybad. I was. I was
pretty bad. I mean, andI say that you know, I was
having a hard time breaking ninety.I was shooting in the eighties, and
I could, of course have somegreat stretch, but I just I fell
in love again and I and Iworked really hard at it, and you
know, I remember when I firstgot into it. I was in my

(10:07):
kind of I was probably twenty fiveor twenty six. I said, I'm
gonna go qualify for the US Open. US Opens, this fantastic championship where
anybody can sign up and you cango try and qualify. And I went
and qualify. We're playing Ptarmigan CountryClub up north, up in Fort Collins,
and I go out there and inmy mind, I'm thinking, I'm
gonna qualify. I'm gonna play inthe US Open. And I shoot eighty

(10:28):
eight, so not even close.Yeah, yeah. And the next year
comes around, I said, man, this year, I'm gonna qualify,
right, And so I'm working hard. I send him my entry. I
get a letter back from the UnitedStates Golf Association which says, unfortunately,
due to your excessive score the yearprior, you will not be allowed to

(10:50):
participate in the qualifying this year,you couldn't even go. I couldn't even
go. Oh my goodness. Youknow, I took that a little bit
personal small chip on your should developed, Yeah, it really did. And
uh, you know the next yearit was at Buffalo Run. I remember
that, and I don't know theexact year, but I went out there
and I shot sixty four I believein the in the local qualifier and I

(11:13):
was the medalist. So I wentfrom that large gap and you know,
almost got into that US Open thatyear. We had to go through two
stages at that point. In thesecond stage, I can't remember where I
finished, but you know, afew shots or several shots out of getting
in the US Open. That wasat Pebble Beach that year or so.
Man, that's when I started tokind of progress a little bit. But
what a difference from that eighty eightto a sixty four in two years.

(11:37):
Then did they take notice of you? I don't know, act like they
liked you at Lee East or youknow. The US JAY is an interesting
organization on that side of things.But and I get it right, I
get at the end of the day, they're trying to protect the field and
you have people who are playing fantasticand you know, they and a bunch
of hacks that think they can makeit exactly. You weren't a hack,

(11:58):
though, So what did you dothen, Matt in that span of time
where you went, Okay, I'vegot to improve my game. I think
anybody that golf wants to know what'sthe secret, sauce. What's the magic?
Is it just getting out there?More? Is it getting lessons?
What is it? Today's game isa lot different. It's all about lessons
in this technology that we have.But back then I didn't have any of
that, right, and I didn'thave access to it, so, you

(12:20):
know, we didn't even really knowwhat our golf swing looked like, right
to be able to get a he'staken a video of it or anything right
now? And then if you didhave one of those cameras, you couldn't
figure out how to get it toplay on your TV at home, right,
Like what cables do I use?Exactly? So I just pretty much
self taught myself. There was aguy named Mike McGetrick who taught in Colorado

(12:41):
for a long time and at themec getric Golf Academy, right, yes,
yes, remember, yeah, SoMike was fantastic and I remember studying
about him and he had some greatLPGA players that he was working with at
the time, and I said,you know, I'm gonna I'm gonna save
some money up, I'm gonna gotake some lessons from Mike McGetrick and uh
and I did. And I didthat, and he was extremely helpful to

(13:03):
me, I bet at that time, and gave me some great things to
kind of work on. And thatwas really kind of the start of my
assent. Was he one of thefirst ones to do video and kind of
have that technology going. I rememberI did a story on him when I
worked at nine News and I waslike, Wow, this is cool and
he videotaped my swing and I'm like, Okay, not so cool, but
I can see where this would becool for others that actually have a chance

(13:24):
to play golf. Well, yeah, no, I think you're right.
I think he was. He wasfar and above ahead of most people at
that time and always evolving with technologyand and he was fantastic. I mean,
one of the best teachers that thecountry really ever saw, you know,
an award winning teacher and still doesa little bit of that today.
Yeah, he does. I can'tremember where Mike's living now. I know

(13:46):
it's not in Colorado. But yeah, so that really helped me and I
just worked on it and we hadto build our own swings at that time,
right. And it's almost a goodthing though, because we today's golfer
we're always looking at you know,I teach some of these incredible elite juniors
now and these great players, andthey're always worried about what their club looks
like and what position it's in.And I didn't do that, and I

(14:07):
still don't do it to this day. I mean, I don't know that
I've looked at my swing on videomaybe five times in the last ten years.
Oh no, kids, I justdon't do it. So what do
you focus on if you feel likethings need to be tuned? Is it
more stance and just how you feel? Yeah, it's all feeling the club,
right, It's how I feel theclub head and how the shots feel.

(14:28):
Today we have track man, youknow, we have these these trackmans,
a simulator that measures all the algorithmsof a golf swing, the launch
angle and the club path and theface angle and on and on and on.
And you know, when I wasgrowing up and the way we played
today, it was all off afield. We knew what it felt like
to hit it right. We knewif we were hitting in the dark and
I hit a ball, I couldsay, oh, that's right, you

(14:50):
know, and that one's left,and you know, I think there's a
lot to be said for that.And when you hit the ball, you
can feel it sometimes too right,you know where it's going to go.
Yeah, one hundred percent most ofthe time. Right. I don't know
that feeling very off, but Ithink I've had it happen maybe twice.
It's like all of us. Itcomes every now, yes, every now
and then. Yeah. Okay,So as you're becoming or you are a

(15:11):
pro, you end up having quitea few wins as a pro. And
then what was that? Like?You win money here and there are there
big pots out there. Is itenough to make a living? How does
that lifestyle go? Yeah, soit was pretty brutal to start. So,
you know, I was I wasplaying all the local PGA stuff,
so the PGA of America, whichis really fields of golf professionals, club

(15:31):
professionals. And I was playing everystate open, whether it be the Wyoming
Open, the Kansas Open, youknow, on and on and on every
border. Yeah, everyone, Andthere was a Hooters tour back in the
day. Oh now, yeah,so we were all on the Hooters tour
and I think it costs you moremoney to play that tour than yes,
and you actually actually won. Butfor the Hooter girls on the course,

(15:52):
Matt, there were not there were. Oh interesting, I think that's disappointing
to all of us, but theyweren't. They weren't out there and they
sponsored it. And I was justplaying all those barbecue tours that were all
around, and you know, sleepingin my car at times, and you
know, not having enough money ortrying to you know, I started to
have putts that it was like,Okay, if this putt doesn't go in,

(16:12):
and I probably don't have enough moneyfor her next week's entry fee.
And it just went on and onand on. So, you know,
I got to a point where Iwas playing great at that point in time,
but I kind of took another littlehiatus once I started having kids,
right, and you know, everythingmattered. I didn't have that money that
I needed to spend on diapers oron daycare and everything else. Right,

(16:36):
you weren't just making money for entryfees. You needed to make it for
your family exactly. So then whatchanges, so changes where I get more
into the business side of things.Right, So now I'm you know,
I'm a director golf, and I'ma general manager, and I'm teaching a
ton of golf, right, andyou know, and I have my beautiful
daughter, Hayley, who was agreat junior in Colorado, yeah, and
a three time state champion, andshe really took the golf right. And

(17:00):
my son Blake, he's playing baseball, And so I really just became dad.
I became this sports dad that wastaking them to practice and working out
with them and trying to make surethat they had a better life for themselves,
right, and kind of everything thatI felt like I didn't have in
the structure, and really trying topush them through sports I got. I

(17:22):
sure hope they liked the sports becauseI sure I pushed them into it.
But yeah, so I just becamedad for a while. So what was
the transition, like them map,from when you decided, Okay, I'm
not making enough money doing what Iwould love to do and be a pro,
I need to actually get a job. Because you didn't finish your degree
at Metro correct correct, So youdon't have a degree, right, And

(17:42):
now you're trying to get into thebusiness world. It was back to square
one really, right, But youknow, I knew I had the tools
and I'd work my whole life,right, So it wasn't My work ethic
was fantastic, And I knew alot about the golf game, right.
I knew a lot about the golfswing and probably made a lot of connections
to a ton of connect Yeah,that was huge. You know, golf

(18:02):
is such an incredible sport. Thepeople that you meet, you know,
from athletes to you know, doctorsto businessmen and just so many people that
are there to help, right,And there were so many people that wanted
to help and help sponsor me attimes and you know, pay for those
entry fees and really just keep megoing on that side of Oh that's cool.
Yeah, it was fantastic. Sojust these incredibly genuine and kind people

(18:26):
that are that are out there,right, and you meet through this wonderful
game of golf. And and that'sreally why I got my kids into it,
because I was like, Hey,this is a sport that you're going
to play your entire life, andthe connections that come from that are just
fantastic. It's its own little community. What's the first job that you get?
Then, So I'm working at LakeValley golf Course in Boulder. I'll
go back a little bit. There'sa place called Fun and Stuff. It's

(18:47):
a go kart trains say this soundslike Boondocks. It's exactly like Boondocks.
It's exactly like that in North Boulder. And we start over there and I'm
working a little bit there and atLake Valley, and I'm picking range balls
by hand, right, So everynight the range would close and I had
to go out there and pick itby hand. We didn't have a machine,
so you know, picking ten thousandballs every night for probably not very

(19:11):
much money an hour for not verymuch money. But I was hitting free
balls, so there you go.Okay, So out that. So I
started at Lake Valley, which isin Boulder and a great little golf club
just in the foothills. And it'sreally Nywad as the address, but it's
really kind of a North Boulder Andyou know, I just started there.
I was starting carts and range andkind of make my way into the golf
shop and before I knew it,I was the head professional out there,

(19:33):
working for a fantastic guy Jim Phillipswho taught me so much about the business.
So I stayed there for fourteen years. Wow, and then how do
you make your way? Then overto what used to be Vista Ridge and
is now Colorado National Golf Club.So another great family in Colorado, the
Hart family, So they're big golffamily. But Stacy Hart who owned Low's
Ferred Ace and Cherry Creek Country Cluband Deer Creek and Plum Creek, and

(19:56):
then Tommy Hart who's his son andjust a terrific golfer and was a fantastic
amateur golfer around here. They purchasedVista Ridge. So they purchased Vista Ridge
and I get on the phone withthem and they call me and Tommy and
I are talking and Stacy and beforeyou knew it, I'm making my move
from Lake Valley and in a similarrole, I was the head professional but

(20:18):
really kind of the GM as wellat the time, overseeing everything. And
yeah, I've been there ever since, a couple of different owners, but
still there. Talk about the switchthen and becoming the home course for the
University of Colorado. Yeah, sowhen when I worked a few years for
Stacy, Stacey and Tommy then therewas a guy named Steve Carer who was
a Buff and he played golf atthe University of Colorado and was fantastic and

(20:42):
just he loves the Buffs, right, and so Steve was really close with
Mark Simpson who was the men's golfcoach at the University of Colorado, and
Simps rest in peace he passed away, and Steve kind of had this.
He and coach Simpson were trying tofind a golf course for the Buffs and
Bowl and they tried as hard asthey could to build a new one or

(21:03):
find one they could purchase, andit just was not working out. Yeah,
it's hard for those college programs tofind one that works so hard,
and especially in Boulder with the landand the open space, you know,
they just couldn't. They're not givinganything away. They're not giving away,
nor do they want anything built.Right. Yeah, They're like, we're
good and it's gonna cost you alot exactly, which is what they did.

(21:23):
And so they settled on Colorado NationalGolf Club or Vista Ridge at the
time, where Steve care purchased VistaRidge and then I bought it. He
bought Vista Ridge from Stacy and soI transitioned over with Steve and then slowly
earned my way into a partnership andone of the partners of Colorado National and

(21:45):
Mike Bone is the athletic director upat the University of Colorado. Mike was
fantastic and supporting us in this andhelped us get into a licensing agreement.
So we've got this exclusive licensing agreementto be their course at the time we
signed up, believe a year dealto be the official golf course and in
a licensing agreement with the University ofColorado. Oh that's great. Yeah,
because you've got buffs all over theplace throughout that entire course. Yeah,

(22:08):
I mean there's logos everywhere. Yeah, branded up and yeah, you know,
we end up building this incredible indoorfacility with which was you know,
donated by George Bodecker, who wasthe founder of CROCS and another Boulder guy.
George gave us a great gift tostart that building, and then of
course Steve care as well, andthen some fundraising from Roy Edwards and the

(22:32):
University of Colorado and lo and behold, we have this fantastic indoor facility up
there, and just a facility that'sthriving, right, a great championship facility
and doing fantastic. Can anybody goand play? Yeah, it's a public
golf it's a public golf course,right, Oh, sure is. And
it's a fantastic facility. I mean, the practice facilities are the best around,

(22:52):
the driving range is impeccable, andthe course is just a fantastic friendly
course to all levels of play.Not extremely difficult off the tee. But
you know, it's got five setsof tea boxes, so you know it's
not just for the scratch golfer,the single digit handicaps. It's for people
like me. There's a set ofteas for people like me. That's right,
That's right for everyone, for everyone. That is so cool, And

(23:15):
I'm assuming it's just how do youkind of do it with the team when
they're in season? Do you haveto block out certain times? And people
just get used to that and theyknow when they can and cannot make their
tea times. They have their ownfacility and their own tea box, and
the short game area becomes theirs inthe season, and then you know,
golf teams are small, eight toten kids usually like it's a tournament going

(23:37):
on that day, it's just asmall team. Yeah, so it's easy
to work them in and they youknow, they have detailed schedules, so
they kind of book their times allahead ahead of time and so forth,
and they're qualifying. So yeah,it's just a it's a great field.
It's great to have those athletes outthere and seeing them daily and letting all
the other kids look up to them. It's just a cool thing. Absolutely.
Okay, so you're the director ofgolf and the general manager there,

(24:00):
then you also are becoming a seniorgolfer at a very high level. I
feel like, talk about what's happenedsince you turned fifty that's that magic number
where you get to start doing seniorevents. And did you have that same
kind of a dream of like whatyou did earlier, Like I'm going to
go out and qualify and here youare. I really didn't at first.

(24:21):
And you know, as my daughtergot older and got into college and I
was less needed, I guess inmy own mind, right, But she
went to see you, right,So she's still coming out to the course
she of course, right, Okay, so you see her, but she
doesn't need you as much, shedoesn't need me as much. Probably probably
didn't need me much to begin with. But anyway, so I turned fifty,
everybody says, are you going tostart playing again at fifty, and

(24:41):
I said, yeah. My firstevent was to play the Colorado Section Senior
Section Championship. So Colorado PG SeniorSection Championship. It's fifty. I'm kind
of excited about it, and I'mgoing to go out there. And my
daughter qualifies for the Women's Amateur,the US Women's Ansa, so it's the
same time, so it's conflicting andno decision. I'm caddying for her in

(25:03):
the US Women's am so I'm gone. So I really don't play. You
know, when I turn fifty rightaway, and then next year comes around
and I'm fifty one and I goplay in the same event and actually win
that event here, and you know, I go down to New Mexico,
which is the Senior PG National Championship, so you know, it's all the
sections across the country and all theseclub professionals who make up this field who've

(25:29):
qualified and entered into this field,and it's down in Albuquerque at Twin Warriors.
You know, I'm looking at thatand I'm thinking, man, I've
never played a PGA Tour event.I've you know, any major anything,
and you got to finish in thetop thirty five, and you qualify for
the Senior PGA Championship. And youknow, I remember my my wife said
to me when I left, Shegoes, hey, do you think you

(25:51):
can win this thing? And Isaid, I don't think I can win
it, but I think I canfinish in the top thirty with these old
guys, right, because I'm ayoung girl, old guy lo And behold,
I go down there and and Ijust peek and playing practice rounds,
and I'm shooting you know, five, six, seven under and every practice
round and I'm making you know,seven, eight nine birdies around. And

(26:15):
I remember thinking to myself, Man, I gotta quit making these birdies in
these practice rounds. I'm gonna savesome for the real Yeah, we're still
around, save them, you know. All of a sudden, I catch
lightning in a bottle that week andI end up winning this Senior pg National
Championship. That's amazing. Wow.So when that weekend finishes, then what
are you thinking? Well, Istill don't know, because I'm getting you

(26:37):
know, how big a deal itreally was? Yeah, And again I
remember calling my wife and I waslike, I think this is a pretty
big deal to win this thing,you know. And we have this terrible
weather the last round, and Ican't sleep the night before, and I'm
thinking, I'm not trying to winthe time. Are you on top of
the leaderboard going into the last day. I'm either in top or I'm one
out, okay, And again,my goal is to finish in the top

(27:00):
thirty five. I'm not even lookingat winning this thing. And so I'm
in there and it's it's gonna beterrible weather next day. It's blowing thirty,
it's rainy, it's gusting to forty. It's just it's horrible weather.
I'm just thinking, man, howare you're not going to screw this up
and finish outside the top thirty five? Right? How am I going to
go about this? And and soI'm I can't sleep, and you know,

(27:22):
I wake up the next day,go out there. It's freezing cold
and it's blowing, and I justget off to a pretty shaky start a
little bit, right. But Ijust told myself there's gonna be a lot
of bogies. Everybody's going to bemaking bogies in this in this weather,
and everybody's playing in the same weather, so everybody's going to be affected the
same way. And it was brutal. I mean, you talk to anybody
who's probably the worst condition I've everplayed in most people, geez, It's

(27:44):
just it was brutal. And Iget it done and shoot seventy five,
which is a fantastic score on thaton that day. And I get it
done and they come up to meafterwhard and they say, we got we
want to do some interviews, andwe got to take some pictures with the
sponsors and so forth. And youknow, Rolelex is, we're the sponsors.
So I'm out there and taking picturesand you know, I'm with the
president of the PJ of America.He goes, hey, you hold this,

(28:07):
Rolex, and we'll take some picturesfor Rolex. And I'm taking that
picture. I'm thinking, God,that have been awesome if I want to
roll X, you know. Andso I take the pictures and he goes,
well, I assume I can shipthis to you or you can take
it with you. And I said, that's mine. He goes, yeah,
that's yours. You want that,Rolex? I said, you gotta
be kidding me. So wow,Kitchen Aid was a sponsor. I did
win a cool mixer that made myOh mixers are something else, something else.

(28:30):
Those are the best. Yeah.Yeah, So it was a great
thing. It was a great youknow, I think I won twenty five
or twenty eight thousand dollars for firstplace prize money. But you know I
got great sponsors and Nike and pXG and you know, I'd won all
this money because of winning that nationalchampionship for my contracts that I have with
them. So it was really specialand I'm almost glad. Maybe I didn't

(28:52):
know that all that was going on, but you know, I'll go back
to a little bit of you know, that last round and that poor weather
and really trying to finish in thetop thirty five, and how stressed out
I was about that. Well,you know, after it was all said
and done, I could have shotninety one I think it was on the
last round to finish in the topthirty five. That's how difficult the course

(29:14):
was playing. So I told myself, man, I don't think you needed
to stress yourself out so much.Had a lot of strokes to give there
exactly exactly. Oh, my goodness. So in twenty twenty three, then
after you do that, you're GolfPerson of the Year by the Colorado Golf
Hall of Fame and you are thesecond in your family to be in that
year, I believe because I thinkHayley she won a Future Famer award in

(29:38):
twenty eighteen. How cool is thatas a dad to have like your daughter
go into something win an award witha major golf association and then you win
later, but your daughter was inthere first. I think that's pretty cool.
It is so cool, especially forme and watching you know, I
just I fell in love with women'ssports and the women's as a whole.

(30:00):
It was so important to me toreally kind of push the women's game and
to watch her really get into amale dominated sport, right, and that's
really what pushed her. And whenshe got that Future Famer and and just
to her accolades, I mean,you're just so proud of your kids,
and especially her as a female ingolf. You know, she raised the
bar and it made me really proud. And then of course for me to

(30:22):
get named to that too. Andyou know, when I was down at
the broad Moor recently, you know, I was able to see. My
trophy is down in the Hall ofFame from the National Championship that I wanted
twin Warriors, So you don't haveit. It's down with the broad I
have a replica, but they gotone that's down there. And then Billy
Leffler, who's a Billy's a Coloradoguy and one of the best players ever.
He and I are the only twoguys to win that are from Colorado.

(30:45):
Right then we've won that national championship. That is really cool. Yeah,
you were the coach for Holy Familyfor the females, weren't you?
Okay? And was that just whileHaley was in high school? I did
a year after she left oh school. The girls convinced you to stay.
Yeah, I stayed. I justloved it, right it was. It
was so fun to be a partof that, and I just enjoyed it

(31:07):
again trying to do that. Andthen I went over to Eerie High School
as an assistant coach the year afterthat and helped over there. So it's
nice. It was just great.I've talked to Denny Nagel. His son
was on the Chatfield baseball team,and when a son graduated, all the
juniors came and said, would youplease come back and coach with us again?
And so he's like, yeah,sure. But it's just it.
Once you get in, especially witha good group of kids that appreciate who

(31:32):
you are, what you do,what you mean to them, I think
it's really neat. And it's neatthat you did that and and helped them
out, because it's hard to findgreat adults that'll work with student athletes and
help them in that way. Yeah, it really is, because, as
you know, with most coaching,it's volunteers. People are out there thankless.
Oh yeah, it's thankless, andyou know, parents are tough,
and you know, in golf,at least in baseball and football, you've

(31:55):
got guys who are putting knowledge,but not many people know the golf swing
or how to teach golf. Soyou usually get in one of the math
teachers or an English teacher or somebodyelse who plays golf but may not be
able to help you right on thatside. So how do you play on
the weekends? I believe I qualifyto be the coach? Yeah, exactly
right. Yeah. I played inour men's league event last week and finished

(32:16):
nineteenth. I'm good d league.Yeah, all right, so Matt,
let's talk about then what just happenedthis year. You just in the last
couple of weeks were recording this.In June of twenty twenty four, you
qualified for the US Senior Open.How about that? Yeah, that's pretty
special. We did that at thebroadmor right, Yeah, I did at
the Broadmoor, which will host theUS Senior Open next year in twenty twenty

(32:38):
five. Yeah. I mean,it's just an incredible property, right,
It's one of the most difficult teststhat you'll get in in golf. I'm
sure I've never played there before,but I can't even imagine. It's incredible.
I mean, it's immaculate, butthe greens are so tricky, and
it's really an old school course whereyou it's like playing chess, right,
you got to be really calculated onhow you go about that golf course,

(33:00):
right, And uh, yeah,I go down there, and you know,
I think the original field was eightyfour players, and I'm sure there
was some wds and some withdrawals,and we go down there and there's a
big field, but two spots intothe into the US Senior Open this year,
and you know, I go downthere and unfortunately my daughter's working.
She's doing some teaching for teacher beforeright, Yeah, luck charm it is.

(33:24):
Yeah. And uh, you knowwhen I played in the in the
Senior PGA Championship after I won theClub Pro in twenty twenty three last year,
my daughter was going to caddy forme in that event, and she,
uh, unfortunately had a little allergicreaction about a forty five minutes before
I'm t and off. So herroommate, her college teammate and roommate,

(33:45):
Lauren Gooding, was able to caddyfor me at the Broadmoor and we went
down there, and you know,I went off the back nine first,
which is a really tough start,tends a tough hole, and I knew
it was going to play difficult,and I thought the number to get in
would be, you know, coupleover par, and if I could beat
that, then I thought we'd bein. And you know, I'm four
over par through eight holes and I'mnot playing poorly. I'm just not making

(34:07):
anything. And you know, Lauren'son my bag, and you know,
we get down with eight holes andand I'm thinking, you know, usually
you're four over and you're thinking advanced, you know, with eighty four guys
and two spots. It's time togo to the car right and make that
start heading back on north on Itwenty five before traffic. And she says,

(34:28):
nah, we got this, youknow, and I and I said,
yeah, you're right, because youbrought more. You're one swing away.
Well you're one chip away. You'reone poor chip away from a double
bug. Really, you are outthere, and you know, and I
thought I could play well on thatfront nine and uh, fortunately I was
able to. I was able toplay kind of two under the rest of
the way and getting in a threeplayer of playoff for for two spots.

(34:51):
And how nerve wracking is a playoff? Well, it used to be really
nerve wracking. Now I handle itway better. You know. Being on
that national stage really helped me alot. And I think kind of being
okay with outcomes now, you know, I think when you're younger, the
outcome is you win or you're kindof you kind of lost, right,
you're your first loser, right onthat side of things that, you know,

(35:13):
I don't look at it that wayanymore. For me. I'm just
okay with what happens. And Iwas okay with what happened on that one,
and I was super comfortable. Andyou know, the first two guys
in the playoff where you could tellthey were nervous because they both kind of
pulled them. I thought, bothinto the trees and those were okay.
And then I hit what I thoughtwas a great drive and ended up in
the bunker. And you know,normally I'd have been really nervous about that

(35:36):
shot, and I just wasn't.And then you were able to get it
done. I was able to getit done. Yeah. We had two
bars advance and one guy made bogie, so we were in and we're on
to uh Rhode Island. Onto RhodeIsland. Yeah, and you were telling
me a little bit about that course. That's going to be quite the experience.
Yeah. It's fantastic. Built ineighteen ninety five and hosted the first

(35:58):
ever US Open in the first everUS Amateur Championship, and I believe they
were in the same day. AndI also learned that they don't have an
irrigation system out there, so whichis crazy, crazy to think today's day
and age. And they then theyhandwater everything. Wow, that's gonna be
cool. So what's what's the planfrom here on out? Then as you.
I mean, it seems like everyyear you're doing something, Matt that

(36:20):
is even better than the year before. Yeah, I mean, just keep
plugging along, right, I mean, I've got to get in one of
these championships, and you know,playing in the in the Senior PGA Championship.
So my first major, you know, over a year ago, about
eighteen months ago. I was nervousfor sure, Right, I was anxious
more than anything. And you know, kind of dealing with those nerves in
your hands when you're when you're potting, those are those are difficult. So

(36:44):
I think if I can just getcomfortable, right, if I can stay
calm, I know I have theability to play well and do well.
And I'm not saying I'm gonna goout and win the US Senior Open,
but I know I could play well. I mean I think in my mind,
I feel like I could definitely finishin the top twenty five, right,
I feel like have the game todo that. Well, it happened,
I don't know, right, andyou know, again, I'll know,

(37:05):
I'll give every effort and you know, we'll see what happens from there.
I love my job. I loveteaching golf. You know, I
love being around golf, you know, just in a happy place. I
don't know that I'm chasing the ChampionsTour right because I'm not going to Monday
qualifiers. I'm not paying to goto qualifying school to get onto it.
So I think I'll probably just keepplugging along with what I'm doing and if

(37:25):
I can, you know, findlightning in a bottle like I did,
you know two years ago in oneof these big events. You know,
I'm gonna play in a Champions Tourevent in February and aprils, so you
know, wow, that'll be cool. Yeah, we'll see what happens.
Yeah, all right, So lastquestion for you, Matt as we wrap
up, as you kind of lookback through your life and you deal with
a lot of and golf is ais a sport that gets very frustrating and

(37:47):
people get down and they get in, you know, a mode where they
just can't get back out and everything'shitting left and right and they can't sink
a shot to save their life.What is your advice to people, whether
it be the game of golf forthe game of life, of how to
kind of get back up and getmoving along again. You know, I
think Number one is don't quit dreamingalways, but don't try and be perfect.

(38:08):
There's no perfect out there. Andsomebody said to me once, you
know, we grew up and wewant to be the best, and we
want to be Tiger Woods, andwe want to be Michael Jordan or we
want to be John Elway, whoeverit is. And and they said,
you know what, Matt, justbe the best you that you can be.
Just be the best to you.And if that best you is good
enough to get in a major championshipor to win a local PJ Section event,

(38:30):
that that's fantastic. But all wecan be is the best us,
right, and be the best me. And I think that's really what's important,
right, Don't don't put so muchpressure on yourself and just be okay
with with the effort that you're givingand the results that come from that.
I love it. Hey, keepkicking button, getting better as you get
older. I love it. It'scorrect. I'll keep trying. I mean,

(38:51):
my windows, my windows closing isno man, there's older guys than
you in that senior open, right. Yeah, there's a lot of big
names there, there is, youknow, And I'm going to keep going
the nice thing is when I wonthat Senior PGA national championship, as I'm
exempt until age seventy into our nationalchampionship, So that means for me,
I'm going to be in that nationalchampionship until seventy and I'm gonna have a

(39:13):
shot every year to get in amajor championship. That's great. Yeah,
so I'll have that to look forwardto. Okay, there you go.
All right, Hey, thanks forcoming in. This was awesome to get
to know your story more and Ilove how you've just navigated everything and like
I said, just keep getting betteras you get older, which is what
we'd all love to do. Socongrats on that, Susie. Thank you.
I appreciate you so much. You'vegot Thanks. Thank you, Matt.
New episodes of Cut, Traded,Fired, Retired I released on Tuesdays

(39:37):
on nearly every podcast platform. Pleasefollow, download, and review this podcast
wherever you listen to podcasts. Youcan get social and find out about new
episodes on Twitter and Instagram at ctfour podcast and check out the website ctfurpodcast
dot com to find out more aboutme, visit Susiewarton dot com. Thanks
for listening, and until next time, please be careful, be safe and

(40:00):
be kind. Take care,
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