Taylor Griffith started playing golf when he was 7 years old. A year later, his dad got him his first set of clubs as a birthday present.
The MSSU alum and former golf team member – who graduated in 2010 with a BSBA in marketing and management – made the most of that gift, becoming an instructor and golf pro. Last year, he decided to pursue his passion as a career.
The Joplin resident played in local tournaments before entering a PGA of America sectional championship tournament. His second-place finish earned him a spot in June’s PGA Professional Championship in June in Sunriver, Ore.
Though falling short of a top 20 finish that would have earned him entry into the PGA Championship later this year, he has several more opportunities lined up.
The biggest difference between amateur and pro golf, said Griffith, is that it becomes more of a numbers game at the pro level.
“There is more strategy involved,” he said. “I spend a lot more time in a practice round scouting a course and planning where to put my shots as opposed to just, ‘What club do I use?’”
When he gets to a tournament location, he typically spends several hours on the course deciding how he’ll play it.
“That includes looking at things like where I want to be on each hole, green speeds and wind,” he said.
Griffith has continued to play in a tournament about every other week, mostly on the Adams Pro Tour and Web.com tour. He has two tournaments planned for the month of August.
Prior to embarking on his PGA quest, Griffith worked as a golf pro at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club in Joplin. Now that he’s playing golf full time, Twin Hills has given him practice privileges to continue honing his skills.