GV golfers talk solid weekend performances, rise in golf’s rising pandemic popularity


Courtesy of GVSULakers.com

Kellen Voss, Print Associate Editor

Two Laker golfers, one former and one current showed out on the 103rd Turtle Creek Casino Michigan Open in Traverse City this past weekend.

After posting a 7-under (65) and a 2-under (70) in the final two rounds of play, professional golfer and Grand Valley State University alum Alex Scott ascended from 43rd place to finish in second place, a full three strokes ahead of the third-place finisher.

“It was a tale of two events for me,” Scott said. “The first day, I played fine in a little bit of wind and still in a decent spot, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. But on the third and final day, I found my game a little bit more, and I shot a 65 in some of the toughest weather I’ve ever had to play in. If you told me I was going to get all the way to second after being tied for 43rd, I would have taken it.”

Freshman Charles DeLong also posted an impressive showing, shooting 3-under overall to place fifth in the competition and first among all amateur golfers.

“I had a good ball-striking week, and I kept it in the fairways off the tees, which is a big thing at those courses,” DeLong said. “If you weren’t in the fairways, you were getting into a lot of hazards, so hitting it straight off the tees was the key to good golf for the most part.”

DeLong credits Scott for his strong performance. He gained a lot of tips on the course from Scott when they played together in their practice, as the former GVSU golfer knew the Traverse City course like the back of his hand.

“I played my practice round with him and he knows the course really well,” DeLong said. “He worked there throughout high school so I got some insider knowledge. He had a great weekend and it was fun to talk to him about his comeback.”

After going pro in June of 2019, Scott felt as if he was just settling into his own before the pandemic hit.

“With the virus coming in March and shutting down the PGA tour for a bit, it capped off what was a very weird first year for me,” Scott said. “But after this past year and especially this busy summer, I feel a lot more experienced as a pro golfer. You really have to trust the process and try to get better each and every day, but it seems to be coming together.”

Like many other golfers, Scott has used golf during these past six months as a way to take his mind off of the pandemic. He is also thrilled to see how the golf industry has grown during COVID-19, with more people wanting to get out of their houses and learn the game he loves.

“The golf industry itself has actually exploded with the virus,” Scott said. “People have been trying to get outdoors and find new hobbies. If you go around any golf course, especially in the Midwest, and ask how they are doing, they’re like, ‘Man, these are record rounds for this time of year.’ It’s not just me, a lot of people have seemed to find some comfort and mental ease at the golf course. People seem to be really enjoying it.’

DeLong agreed with Scott, saying the course he worked at this past summer is posting record numbers due to the sheer number of people that want to play.

“I worked at a Lansing golf course over the summer, and even with the two months of no one playing because of COVID, they are on pace to have the best year ever,” DeLong said. “It’s good to see more people getting into the game, as while COVID is obviously a negative thing overall, it’s been a blessing in disguise for the golf industry.”

As the Michigan weather starts to get colder, Scott has looked into moving to Florida in the winter to golf in much more adequate conditions. Before that move, he will try to qualify for his next match, as he could potentially head to Las Vegas to play in the Shriner’s Hospital Open for Children PGA tour event on October 1st.

DeLong’s next match will be at a College Golf Coaches’ Association event in October at Eagle Eye Golf Club in East Lansing.