Hazeltine's 2017 Senior Club Champion, Dave Cookson, shares his biggest challenge when competing for the club championship, and how he prepares for the event.
Net Winner, Jim Ruelle (l) and Gross Champion, Dave Cookson (r)
What is the hardest part about playing in the Club Championship?
That is a tough question. Club Championships seem more fun than hard. I love competing with all the talented golfers at Hazeltine, as well as facing the challenges our course offers when it is in championship form. The biggest obstacle is keeping myself in the process of playing golf rather than imagining good or bad outcomes.
What do you feel is the toughest hole at Hazeltine to play under pressure?
As is true for most of us at Hazeltine, the hardest hole for me to play under pressure is hole 16. The tee shot is difficult to line up with both a curving tee and landing zone, and punishes anything going left. The second shot is also full of trouble long, left or right. Coming at the end of the round lends added pressure or fear to hole 16. It can make for nightmares.
What is the single most important part of your game to practice?
Putting. The fun level in golf is greatest when good putting allows for making some birdies or salvaging some undeserved pars. I need lots of practice to keep my putting on a positive note.
How is the pressure of playing in the Club Championship different than other tournaments?
Competing with fellow Hazeltine golfers is a bit like competing with your family members. Everyone knows all about everyone else in the championship. I would not say the pressure is greater but has an added dimension of camaraderie.
What other goals do you haves in golf?
My goals are to improve my skills and knowledge of the game, and to enjoy friendships at the club. I will continue to enjoy competition, but as long as I can maintain my level of physical and mental involvement, I will be happy. If I do well in competitions that is a bonus!
Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private golf club located in Chaska, Minn., about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The club opened in 1962 with a mission to build and maintain a golf course suitable for the conduct of national championships. Hazeltine is one of only two courses in the United States to have hosted the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and Ryder Cup. Hazeltine’s meeting and event space, golf shop and specified services in the learning center are open to the public. More information about becoming a member at Hazeltine is available at www.hazeltinenational.com.
Topics: Member Stories