At age 11, Lucas Brick was hooked.
He discovered his passion on the fairways of Pine Meadows Golf Course in Brainerd. That was also where Brick met his mentor.
Nine years later, the 2005 Brainerd High School graduate and member of the Warrior boys' golf team, is immersed in the Professional Golf Management program at New Mexico State University. It's the same school Eric Peterson, director of golf at Grand View Lodge, attended.
Brick starts his junior year in a week and is 2 1-2 years away from becoming a head golf professional.
Lucas Brick, a 2005 Brainerd High School graduate, was an assistant golf professional at Breezy Point Resort this summer and is enrolled in the professional golf management program at New Mexico State University. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The last seven summers Brick has worked at Breezy Point Resort's Whitebirch Golf Course under Mark Johnson. It's that relationship that inspired Brick to become a golf professional
"He introduced me to the game when I was 11," said Brick. "He fit me for my first set of clubs and from then on he just took me under his wing and taught me basically everything I know about golf. He's the reason I wanted to get into it. I've been around him a lot and have always worked for him."
Brick was a cart boy for the first four years at Whitebirch. One summer he was a pro shop attendant. For the last two seasons Brick has managed the pro shop and conducted golf tournaments as the assistant professional. That experience has been beneficial.
Who: 2005 Brainerd High School graduate
What: Enrolled in Professional Golf Management program
Where: New Mexico State University
Summer: Assistant professional at Breezy Point Resort's Whitebirch Golf Course
"Some of the kids that are in the program had never worked at a course before," said Brick. "It really showed on our first test. You go through three levels and on the first test there was only four of us that passed on the first day. You take 10 exams and you have to pass all of them. Only four of us passed the first day. Most of us were the ones that had worked at a course. I think I probably had the most experience inside."
The first level of the program deals with teaching, golf cart fleet management, club repair and rules. In the second level, Brick will dive into the business and marketing side of golf from food and beverage, caddy programs and merchandise. The third level is work experience and preparing for the profession.
Brick hopes to land on one of the coasts, preferably the east coast. He hopes to intern at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon next summer and look at the East Coast for the next summer.
"I can't wait to get through the school so I can be a head pro or director of golf and run it myself," said Brick. "I've learned a lot here at Breezy. We do at least one tournament a week. The set up, people don't realize how much goes into the set up of a tournament."
There are 17 colleges that offer the professional golf management program. New Mexico State has the reputation of being the No. 1 school in the country.
"It's a great climate," Brick said. "I don't know if the desert is really where I want to be after graduation, but it's really nice for school. You can play year round."
After graduation, Brick will have finished all three levels of the program, accumulated 16 months of internship and passed his playing ability test. He then will apply for membership into the PGA and can then become a Class A or head professional. He will also graduate with a marketing degree.
"His potential is unlimited," said Johnson. "One of the key traits that he takes is his attitude. He has the correct attitude in the way he works with people. He's outstanding working with people,
which is the downside of so many younger people. You're working on average with people who are double and triple your age and that's your average customer. So many of the kids can't deal with that.
Lucas is very mature for his age."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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