Chris Stroud - Early Years (Part 2)

Chris Stroud discusses having grown up in Groves, Texas. He shares the story of his early years and picking up the game as a youngster (Part 2).

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People are always interesting to talk to, how they began. And we see how youngsters get into the game now, it's so different. And do you think that was good for you to be at a small course growing up? And how did the development come then when you started getting bigger to where you were sort of in high school. And what was that like for you?

That's a great question. I think in the beginning, growing up in a small non-country club type golf course, there's two sides of that. I think the advantages of that were when I showed up to a great golf course, I was appreciative of everything. I grew up with very little, just like a guy that was growing up very poor when he's-- maybe his first car or second-- you know.


It's a big deal.

It could be a bomb but it's their first car.

That's right. And I was the same way. So when I would show up to these tournaments and I was like, wow, I was so blown away. And maybe not in that good of shape compared to some other people. But to me, any golf course compared to that, it was just cut St. Augustine. But the pro let me play and I developed my skills.

The other flip side of that, I was intimidated a lot when I was young.

When you'd go and see the other guys.

These guys that are growing up on country clubs and these beautiful greens and they're getting to practice and hit great grange balls. I mean, I grew up picking balls out of ponds and hitting cut balls.

But I'll tell you what, I learned one thing and even to this day, my short game is one of my strengths and I believe I developed that on that golf course. Because it was a lot of sandy, really tight lies.

And I had to learn how to chip with a sand wedge. I didn't have a lob wedge back then. But with like a sand wedge, 55, 56 degree out of literally sand. And if you couldn't chip, you couldn't play that golf course.

You couldn't score. You couldn't score.


And you didn't have a full set, right?

Didn't have full, my first set. The very first club I ever got as far as--

I had odd numbers for a while--

That's what I had.

Until I was about 13, then I got evens for Christmas.

That's exactly what I had. I did. I had odd number, I think my first set, if I could remember right, I had a pitching wedge, an eight iron, a five iron, and a three wood. They called it, it was a spoon. Obviously, we know what that is, if you're a historian.

And I had a spoon type three wood. And then my next set that I got, my dad actually bought. And this was before they built junior clubs. I'm still coming from the era where a lot of kids couldn't afford to play golf. So my dad took some precision irons, were basically kind of prototype-looking clubs of Ping Eye 2, which everybody loved.

Sure, like a knock off version, right?

Knock off version. We couldn't afford the Ping Eye 2, so my dad bought these precisions. Big cavity backs. And I had basically every odd.

Like, just the greatest thing ever.

It was unbelievable. I think I was nine years old or 10 years old when I got that set. And they were a little bit heavy. And I think today, going back thinking about that, playing those heavier clubs definitely put some swing faults in my-- I've had some faults in my swing because of that. And then I had to slowly develop strength and get out of those little slumps.

Of course, John Daly credits his real long swing from his first set with men's clubs when he was little. And he just kept going because he couldn't bring it back.

Same to me. I was pretty lean, skinny kid. And I had to lift this big kind of Jim Furyk kind of loop to get the club up to get some power on it. And I didn't have the strength to get up. So I had to lift it straight up and then let it drop. And that became my swing for years.