After a hectic, but rewarding trip to Spain to learn all the intricacies of running – and playing in – a professional golf tournament, Scott Rausch isn’t giving up his dream to become a pilot.
But his love of the game has never been stronger after seeing just how much time and effort professional golfers put into the game in order to become successful.
“I’m still planning on being a pilot … but I do have a new appreciation for everything that it takes to become a successful professional golfer,” said Rausch, 17. “The amount of hard work and practice the top guys put in is simply incredible.”
The Osoyoos teenager was the latest talented young local golfer to participate in the Create a Star program, which was created by Wayne Hachey, the owner and operator of the Osoyoos Desert Golf Academy.
Hachey is also the owner and founder of the Evolve Professional Golf Tour in Spain.
For the past five years, Hachey has invited one talented local golfer to accompany him for several weeks to Spain to learn the intricacies of organizing and running a professional golf event.
During his visit to Spain, Rausch not only got to play in three events, but he also helped Hachey operate four tournaments where he was asked to do everything from setting pins, handing out and collecting scorecards, posting live scores, greeting golfers when they arrived to play and addressing their concerns after they played a round.
“I basically did anything Wayne asked me to do,” he said. “I sort of knew it would be busy, but it’s incredible how much work it takes to run a good professional tournament.
“We had a small crew of five or six of us and Wayne had this list of things he wanted us to do. You never stop running around and it’s a lot of fun, but you’re exhausted at the end of a four-day tournament.”
The trip to Spain got off to a rough start as their flight from Kelowna to Spain was delayed due to a snowstorm.
They faced several other delays and it took more than two days for them to travel from the South Okanagan to Northern Spain.
“It was a hard core trip just to get to Spain and then we missed our connecting flight and had to drive eight hours once we got there,” said Hachey.
Once they arrived, Rausch was informed hours before the first tournament that someone had dropped out and he was asked to fill in and would have the opportunity to play against pros for the first time in his young life.
“I had to rush back to the hotel and grab my new clubs, that I had just purchased in Spain and had never hit before, and then head back to the course,” he said. “I parred the first hole and thought everything was great … then I hit it in the water two or three times on the second hole and got an 11.”
He ended up shooting a very high score, but loved the experience realizing just how tough the courses professionals play on are in comparison to Osoyoos Golf Club, where he grew up playing the game he loves, said Rausch.
His best score over the three tournaments he played in was 88 and he had to play exceptionally well to get that score, he said.
Hachey said Rausch struggled with his new clubs and overall play, but handled everything with class.
“He didn’t get down and kept a smile on his face and was having a great time out there,” he said. “He’s a young guy who got to see just how tough these professional courses can be.
“He handled everything really well and I’m really proud of him for that.”
Rausch did a great job handling all the jobs he gave him at the four tournaments and his friendly personality made him a favourite with all the pros he met, said Hachey.
Rausch said he got to meet other young golfers from across Europe and made some really good friends.
“I met guys from Ireland, Scotland, Wales as well as Spain and we had a blast,” he said. “I would say the friendships I made was the highlight of the entire trip.”
Rausch, who plans on following in his father Rob’s footsteps in becoming a commercial airline pilot, said he has no intentions of pursuing a pro golf career, but he loves the game and plans on playing golf all over the world.
“My job is going to take me all over the world, so what I would like to do is spend a lot of my free time when I’m not working playing golf wherever I travel,” he said. “I got to play four amazing courses in Spain and it made me realize how much I would love to play more courses like that all across Europe.”
Hachey said he’s looking forward to continuing the Create a Star program and allowing youngsters like Rausch to travel and enjoy a wonderful life experience, while also exposing them to the wonderful world of professional golf.
By Keith Lacey