Ian Conley - Golf
For sophomore Ian Conley, golf is more than a sport. It's home.
"It's like a little sanctuary for me. Just being on the golf course is like my haven, it's like my home," he said. "It's my place and no one can get in my space when I'm there. It's where I perform at my best, honestly."
Conley said when he took his first steps, he had a golf club in his hand—a pretty good indication of what the rest of his childhood would look like. By the time he turned 5 years old, he was golfing every week.
He golfed all the way through high school for the North Branch Broncos, nearly making it to the state tournament twice.
"As a sophomore I think I was only eight shots away from making it, and junior year was five," he said. "In high school it was more about not how well you played but how much of an intimidation factor you had. Being intimidating was a little easier for me because I had more experience so I could show up and be confident."
Conley's determined to maintain that confidence as he heads into his sophomore season as a Skipper. He missed out on a full season during his freshman year, saying he only got to play six rounds during the team's spring training trip.
"We took our trip down to Florida and played pretty much every hour of the day, which was pretty much our practice and preparation for the spring season," he said. "And then literally while we were in the airport, we found out that they were canceling school."
And so, he did what any passionate golf player would do: get a job at a golf course.
"Coming into the next year I knew I'd need to prepare myself. I went and got a job at a country club so I could hit in the driving range for free," he said. "I hit like 200 balls a day."
Despite the mental drain and intense focus golf requires, Conley said he doesn't get tired of it, even after daily practice. Occasionally, however, he does take a brief break.
"There are some points, usually like if I had a long work week, when golf is kind of my relaxing period. But when I start to push myself a little harder, my swing gets quicker and I try to hammer the ball as hard as i can," he said. "That's usually when I know I need to take a break, usually for three days and that's how I recuperate."
Being able to find this balance and manage his own golf game will help Conley down the road as he prepares for a future career in the world of professional golf.
After he leaves SC4 in the spring, he plans to attend Ferris State University to participate in the Professional Golf Management program, and he's already working on securing an internship with a teaching professional in California.
"I want to be a teaching professional or work as a financial advisor for the PGA," Conley said. "As a teaching professional, you can work as a club pro or work with private clientele with your own business. I want to live in California or Florida or Georgia because that's where a lot of people go to retire and they want to work on their golf swings."
Golf has already always been a part of Conley's life, and he plans to keep it that way.
"I was pretty much drawn to it naturally at a young age," he said. "I lived out in the country with nothing really to do, except go out and his balls into the corn field by my house."
And some day he'll be able to share his passion and knowledge of the sport with many others.