Monday, October 29, 2012

Chasing the Dream

Setting goals and chasing dreams are what life is all about.  I find it really is inspirational to see others who are pursing what they love in life.  This morning I had the privileged of speaking with Chris Anderson and Robbie (Shank) Biershenk from the Golf Channel TV series 'Chasing the Dream'.  These two guys are doing exactly that, chasing a dream that many golfers share... becoming a pro golfer and staying competitive at that elite level.

For those who haven't seen the show, which airs Tuesday evenings at 10PM ET, Chasing the Dream follows Chris and Robbie as they put their lives on hold and pursue their dream of playing on the PGA Tour.  Here's a short video preview...

It was truly inspirational to be able to talk with both these guys, to learn about their journey, the challenges they've faced, and the pursuit of their dream.  Here a few of the things we discussed:

What was it that made you decide to put your life on hold in order to pursue this journey?

Chris:  When I quit playing in 2009, I left with a bad taste in my mouth.  I felt hurt by the game, and not completely fulfilled.  I have a wife and three kids, and now that my kids are a little older, this is a chance for me to show them what I love to do, and to rekindle the love that I have for the game.

Shank:  I have to give some credit to the Golf Channel for giving the opportunity on the Big Break several years ago.  That really set a fire under me.  Getting out in the spot light, brought back memories of playing Junior Golf and being in the moment and living the grind.

Golf is challenging both mentally and physically, what do you  find to be more of  an obstacle for you?

Chris:  Definitely a combination of both, it's a physically challenging game and also mentally challenging.  For me its about 80% mental and 20% physical.  It's a matter of getting out of my own way.

Shank:  Both.  I'm currently going through a swing change right now, I've done long drive for about 10 years, so I'm working on shortening my swing and tightening it up a little bit.  I'm a lot like Chris, if I can get out of my own way and start reacting to the target and stop worrying about how to do it and just do it.

Something I've learned, even the best players will hit some ugly golf shots, but their short game is fantastic, cause they work at it, they work very hard at it; and that's the difference maker.  That's currently the worst part of my game.  This winter I'm going to work really hard.  I've got a chipping and putting area here at my range and now that the grass has stopped growing, I think I might build me a fire, set up a hammock with a heated blanked and spend the night.  I'm gonna chip, chip, chip and putt, putt, putt. It ain't how ya drive, it's how you arrive my friend.

Where do you go from here?  Can you give me a glimpse of what comes next for you?

Chris:  I'm really looking forward to the next year.  This is the first year in probably 7 years that I've seen improvement in my game, and I feel like, if you're improving, then you're going in the right direction.  I'm excited to play more golf and improving even more.  It's an internal competition with myself. I'm looking forward to the holidays with my family and kids and taking care of some things with Industry Lift.  I'm pumped.  It will be an exciting year ahead.

Shank: I'm looking forward to 2013, I've learned a lot from this year.  I've been working hard here at the range and trying to save my money.  This winter, I'm gonna dress up like Santa Clause and sell me some more Christmas trees and keep trying to put some money back.  My dream right now is to play a full year on the eGolf Tour which is a North Carolina/South Carolina mini tour and it won't require a lot of flying around.  I just want to have an ample opportunity.  The E-Tour consists of about 25 events so it should give me a good opportunity prove myself.

Do you have any closing sentiments and/or advice you would like share with the next generation of golfers who are wanting to chase their PGA dreams?

Chris: "If you're talented at something and you're passionate about it, and you want to work your butt off, you can be whatever you want to be."  It's one of the toughest things in life to be pursuing your dream, and you may fail more times than you succeed, but keep at it.

Shank:  Again, I want to thank the Golf Channel for the opportunity. I'm thankful for all the people from across the globe that are going online and buying my Shank gear and apparel.  All that money is going towards helping me to continue to play golf.  If it wasn't for the 'Shankster' fans, this wouldn't be possible.

It's great to get the feedback I'm getting and to be able to touch the lives of kids.  I want to be an inspiration to younger kids, even if I don't ever make it, if I can change a kids life in some way, shape, form or fashion, that's what it's all about my brother.  It's been an unbelievable experience and I'm happy to have the opportunity to share it with others.

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We want to wish both guys the best of luck as they continue the ever challenging pursuit of their dream.  You can follow the rest of Chris and Robbie's  journey by tuning in to Chasing the Dream Tuesdays at 10pm ET on the Golf Channel.  You can also follow them online through their websites, facebook and twitter accounts:

Robbie Biershenk
Twitter: @robbiebiershenk

Chris Anderson
Twitter: @CAndersonGolf