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Hudson - Litchfield News | September 30, 2011 - 7

Future in Pro Golf Promising for Campbell Grad

Sudoku 1 7 4 6 4 7 6 9 2 5 3 Taking a break from golfing P.J. Frappier Getting ready for the drive

by Kristen Hoffman Campbell High School’s class of 2007 was small. About 100 students graduated that year. So, what were the chances that one of the graduates would go on to pursue pro golf career less than five years later? Apparently, pretty good. P.J. Frappier, a Litchfield native is

working towards that goal. Currently, he resides in Port Charlotte, Florida, where he practices upwards of eight hours a day and teaches junior clinics to area youth who are interested in golfing. His story is filled with athletic ambition, ability, perseverance, and perhaps, maybe a bit of luck. He grew up playing sports, and always knew that there was a future for him in sports. “I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete,” he said. P.J. didn’t grow up playing golf. In fact, as today’s athletes go, one can say he started golf late in life. He started playing golf when he was 16. He never considered pursuing golf full time, relating it to something that older, wealthier people did on the weekends. Things changed as he got older. One of his good friends and his uncle played golf, and he saw hitting the links as a good way to spend time with them. By his junior year in high school, he was on the varsity golf team under the direction of Scott Sarsfield. It quickly became apparent that he had an untapped skill. To this day he is the only member of Campbell Golf Team, past or present to hit a hole-in-one at a match. The famed shot happened at the Angus Lea Golf Course in Hillsborough.

Playing at his first amateur tournament in Florida

Golfing remained a past time throughout high school. Although he didn’t pursue a career in golfing straight out of high school he continued to play

at Hidden Creek and Passaconaway in Litchfield. During this time he achieved a degree in Sports Management. Later, he got a job at Hidden Creek in Litchfield. He became friends with Joe Healey, the resident pro. Healey incubated P.J.’s newfound love for golf. Suddenly, golf wasn’t reserved for weekend getaways for the wealthy. P.J. had never taken golf lessons prior to that time. Healey worked as his personal coach and even gave him some of his old clubs. “Working with him really helped with the evolution of my game,” P.J. said. The two only had a couple of lessons together. P.J. worked on his swing by himself, but it was Healey who taught him to really enjoy the game. The mental aspect of the game really started to click with him. Healey told him that the point of the game was to have fun. P.J. recognizes that as the best advice given to him by Healey. Tragically, Healey passed away in May of 2011. He was 47 years

old. P.J. was out of town when he heard the news. With the loss of his mentor, P.J. faced a fork in the road. Without his mentor, it could have been easy to abandon the game and focus on a new chapter in his life. But being a sportsman, he decided to continue playing the game he grew to love. He started to play even more. By this summer, P.J. was spending most of his time out on the links. “That was when I really started taking it seriously,” he added, “You had to pretty much pry me off the course at that point.” The work paid off, later that summer, P.J. was caddying for Phil Smith at the New England Open. Smith, a former pro encouraged P.J. to leave New Hampshire and head to Florida to pursue a career.

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He took the advice and moved down to Florida in August, according to P.J., “I took one day off after I moved.” Golf became his full time job the next day. Subsequently, he turned pro on August 12, 2011. “I saw the opportunity and I wanted to jump on it,” P.J. said. So far, his move has proved to be rewarding. Since moving down to Florida he has already started making a name for himself. He caught the eye of Titleist, a manufacturer of golf equipment, while playing in an amateur tournament shortly after moving to Port Charlotte. At the tournament, he shot a 66 on the 18 hole course. 128 people from the southeast were playing in the tournament, and P.J., the unknown kid from New Hampshire took the win. Shortly after Titleist spotted him, he won a sponsorship. Unfortunately, that sponsor dissolved and he is currently looking for another sponsor, an endeavor that also takes a lot of his time. As of now, he established a website, as a means to attract possible donors and sponsors. When he is not practicing his own game, or working on gaining a sponsor, he teaches junior clinics. At the clinics, he teaches children as young as seven proper course etiqutte and gives them playing tips. All in all, his venture in the world of professional golf has been a learning experience, ‘I’m learning a lot about myself,’ he said. The game is not about perfection, something that can be hard for him, as he described himself as almost a perfectionist. “It’s ok if you don’t always hit perfect shots, ” he said. And one can’t expect to get perfect shots everyday, especially in golf, where the game takes place in your head as much as on the course. Because of this, many of today’s young golfers are focusing on total fitness, not only of the body but for the mind as well. Physical fitness in the form of cardio and yoga is practiced by many young players, “It helps to get you motivated,” he said.

In the end, this is something P.J. has decided he wanted to do and threw himself into it. ‘I’m not doing this golf career for anyone in particular,” he added, “I didn’t want to look back in life and have any regrets.” He plans on entering qualifying school next September. P.J.’s first professional tournament will be at the Charlotte County Open on Saturday, October 8. The event will take place over the entire weekend.

While pursuing his goals, P.J. is continuing to focus on his game while looking for potential sponsors to help him achieve his goal. But he has not forgotten his family and friends up in New Hampshire, and he thanks all those who helped him through the years. “Thank you to all of my family Litchfield, Jeremy Cox, Jesse Hackett, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike. Also, my mom, my dad and my brother and to all my friends who have supported me and continue to support me. And finally, to Joe Healey, the reason I am playing golf today.”


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Photo Credit Jesse Hackett

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