Head Club Professional – The River Course, Kiawah Island
L: You are playing the PGA Championship this week! Has this been a long time coming?
CF: This is a part of my profession that I enjoy. Playing in tournaments and events is how I spend my recreational time, kind of my hobby—while also being an important part of my career. So any of these situations that I’m lucky enough to get into seem like icing on the cake.
L: How did it feel when you knew you had qualified?
CF: I finished 10th in the National Club Pro Championship which was at the Philadelphia Cricket Club at the end of June. The top 20 club pros go to the Championship. I thought I had to make a put on the last hole to qualify. It turned out that I didn’t! When it was over there was a feeling of relief for the first hour. Then it turned into excitement and jubilation. Because I was just on the border of making it. It’s a life long dream accomplished! Then it turned into Oh my god I’ve got to play this golf course. And that part gets worse everyday. (laughs)
L: Whistling Straights! Have you played it?
I went up a couple weeks ago for the day and played a practice round. It was good. It was a beautiful day and I had a lot of fun. But it’s a very long, difficult course. It’s 8000 yards long and they have in the neighborhood of 400 bunkers which is about three times as many bunkers as most courses. It’s right along lake Michigan. When I teed off the caddy said “I haven’t seen anyone hit it into Lake Michigan in years!” Which, of course, made me very paranoid about hitting it into lake Michigan.
L: Do you get nervous?
CF: I handle nerves pretty well. But I played in the Wells Fargo Championship a couple years ago and I was so nervous standing on the first tee that my eyes wouldn’t focus. They handed me a rule sheet and I just handed it to my caddy. I looked down and the golf ball was kinda fuzzy and it looked three times as big as normal. I’m looking down at it and thinking Well even I can hit this ball, it’s huge! I hit it right down the middle and the nerves subsided. I’m hoping it plays out the same way this time—if the ball looks three times as small, I’m in trouble.
L: Will your family be there?
CF: Yes! My wife will be there, her parents, and my parents. I’m usually not too good about sharing this sort of information with my family. I was on TV for the National Club Pro and one of my mom’s friends told her at the gym. That didn’t go over very well. So long story short, I couldn’t really keep this one from her.
L: She must be so excited. You play things pretty low key. But this is big!
CF: We’re having a very big year. My wife and I are expecting our first child in December. And the Championship. And we just got a puppy. It all pales in comparison to being a father though.
L: Oh my goodness! Congratulations!
My wife actually told me as we were walking down the first hole at Augusta National. During the Masters. She works in the golf business also and had been there all week so I hadn’t seen her. She said she’d been sick and I said I was sorry to hear it. She said it was a good thing—when I didn’t get it, she said to think about it for a minute. Being blonde, it took me three or four minutes. But I finally figured it out. We found out last week that we’re having a little boy.
Charles will play in the PGA Championship next week at Whistling Straights, Wisconsin.