Trailing by one stroke entering the final round at the 2022 PGA TOUR Champions Q School this past December – the qualifying event for professional golf’s senior circuit (age 50+) – Rob Labritz fired a bogey-free 7-under 64 to grab medalist honors and punch his ticket to the PGA TOUR Champions … playing alongside legends like Bernhard Langer, John Daly, Fred Couples and his longtime friend Jerry Kelly. For Rob, the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club since 2001, this was a dream come true.
He couldn’t hide the tears after his scorecard was triple-checked and signed and it became official, Rob Labritz had earned a spot on the PGA TOUR Champions and would finally get his shot at competing on a national stage. He still gets choked up thinking about the moment his life changed.
“I’ve been envisioning this happening. And it did, which is crazy,” Labritz said after achieving his dream of 15 years. “It shows the power of the mind. I’m beyond the moon. I’m almost speechless. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this, to know that my golf game held up.”
Walking through Westchester Airport at 11:00 pm after a long trip home, Rob met his wife, Kerry, and the two embraced, sharing a special moment of quiet knowing that their journey together had reached a pinnacle moment. He said, “I would have cried, but by then I was already out of tears.”
A dedicated family man and father, Rob has been a PGA Club Professional for more than two decades, which means his son Matthias and two daughters, Ryan and Logan, have grown up playing in the back of the bay while Rob gets a few more practice swings in. They’ve sat patiently through long press events and waited up late for Rob to get home from long tournament weekends. Rob is the first to admit that this recent victory is really his family’s victory, and his dream wouldn’t have been realized without the steady support of his wife and kids.
At his day job as the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club, Rob is responsible for golf instruction and managing a golf club with hundreds of members. This means back to back lessons, long meetings, working with budgets, and a regular circuit of press and promotional activities to promote the club. After hours, he manages to fit in time for his golf practice and managing his own career and playing schedule, booking hotels and travel for the various upcoming tournaments.
“My days are from dawn until dusk,” Rob said. “You must eat right, get enough rest and do all the duties as a PGA Professional at my club. When you are coaching other students, you are always on call. The phone rings at odd hours. You get questions 24/7. If you love what you do, it’s not a job. And, I love what I do.”
Rob adds, “I’m a club pro. I’m a club pro, man. I’ve been working the job since I was 19 and played a lot of golf. And I always kept the job in the forefront. Now, for once, I get to put my golf game at the forefront. It’s what I’ve dreamed about.”
Rob’s path to the PGA TOUR Champions was a lifetime in the making. Growing up in Connecticut he started playing golf with his dad at 3 years old and eventually became a talented teenager, helping lead his Southington High School golf team to a state championship his sophomore year. In his junior year, his family relocated to South Florida so Rob could focus on his game and potentially earn a college scholarship.
After a year at Central Connecticut State University, Rob chose to enter the golf industry and pursue a career path as a PGA Professional, earning membership into the PGA of America in 1991.
Over the next several years, Rob honed his skills as PGA Professional and business leader in the game, while also continuing to compete and chase his dream of playing on a major world stage.
Since that time, he has made a tremendous impact on the game in the communities where he has held positions, including GlenArbor Golf Club, where he has worked as a PGA Professional since 2001. He also played on the Golden Bear Tour and the Canadian PGA TOUR, and competed in hundreds of PGA of America Section and national events until he became one of the Association’s most accomplished players. Now, instead of commuting to GlenArbor, Rob is flying from city to city and competing in PGA TOUR Champions events alongside legends of the game.
Looking back on his year, Rob reflects, “This is what I’ve worked for my entire life. Every time I’m out hitting golf balls, I’m thinking of this. I’m thinking of the shots I need to hit to make sure this happens. It’s super important, but it’s super fun, too. I’m doing what I love and there’s nothing better.”
Throughout his journey, Rob has remained true to his humble roots. His love for the game of golf is infectious and the sacrifices he’s made to chase success, and in turn ensure his family’s success, are admirable and inspiring to the rest of us chasing our own dreams. We at V1 Sports are proud to consider Rob part of our team and are cheering for his continued success in 2022.