“Even though he had no credentials as a golf teacher, he knew what I was supposed to do,” Toms said. “He always tried to help me and certainly got me where I needed to be.”
Tom Toms Sr. was a student of the game, reading all the books written by Bob Toski, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan, but it was his military background that earned his grandson’s respect.
“He was a World War II veteran and then in the Air Force after that,” said the 13-time PGA Tour winner. “He tried really hard to do what he could for me to help me. That’s probably why I continue to play golf and excel at golf and do it for a living.”
It had been seven years since Toms won a professional event before his victory at The Broadmoor, but overcoming failure is something he said he’s learned from the game.
“So many young people have a hard time dealing with failure, and I think that’s what golf does for you because if you’re somebody that wants to win, you don’t win very often, even the great players,” said the 2001 PGA Championship titlist. “As a young person, it helped me deal with a lot of things that other kids aren’t exposed to.”
Toms is doing his part to help introduce the next generation to the game. His foundation sets out to build core values for underprivileged youth through golf. Toms’ academy features a par 3 course that he believes is ideal for opening the door to beginners.
“People love that because they come out, they spend a couple hours, they get their golf fix for the day and then they get to go home and do all the other activities that are expected,” he said. “Kids love it as well because it’s hard to keep their attention for a long period of time.”
Jordan Schwartz is the creative and content lead for the USGA Foundation. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.