An often fabled number in the golf world, but a special one when a player gets to sign his card with that number on it. 21-year-old Dan Bowling felt that feeling last week during a pro-am at Sawmill Creek Golf Resort and Spa near Camlachie, Ontario.
Bowling shot 31 on the front nine and finished up with an astounding 28 on the back nine to finish 12-under par, setting his career-best round, as well as setting the course record at Sawmill, which was previously 61.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Bowling. “I was just hitting the ball right down the middle of the fairway all day and then hitting an iron in there within 10 feet and making the putts.”
Bowling is a touring pro, playing mostly PGA Tour Canada Monday Qualifiers and various mini-tour events. He already has four years of experience as he turned pro at age 17, making him one of the youngest players the history of PGA Tour Canada to earn the status. He’s definitely seen changes in the way the game is played throughout his journey:
“Back then I was playing the game I thought it was just fun and there wasn’t much to it, but once you get to the professional level you see how the guys take it to that extra level and a little bit more serious and how much the little things come into play. You can’t make mistakes anymore. Just a really big learning experience, and it’s been a journey.”
He credited Florida-based sports psychologist Dr. Bob Winters with helping him improve his thought process on the course. Dr. Winters travels to work with several elite golfers and top-level athletes of all sports on mental conditioning and performance psychology, although he’s based at the Leadbetter Golf Academy World Headquarters in Orlando.
“He’s got my mental game pretty strong,” he said. “Under that circumstance, when you get to that nine-under mark (and) you’ve still got seven holes to play, a lot of nerves and a lot of things going through your head. So he’s definitely helped me and helped me go through that feeling and know what to do in that situation.”
On the course, local coach Chris Dickson – one of the previous Sawmill course record holders – has been helping Bowling hone his game since 2013, and he also works alongside Steve Bennett.
“Huge appreciation to them both,” Bowling said.