Golf Academy of America Graduate David Hronek Plays in the PGA Championship
Sep 30, 2014
Luck doesn’t get you a spot playing at the PGA Championship. Neither does raw talent. It takes determination, skill and a whole lot of practice to play in this premier event, one of the four major championships in professional golf.
Golf Academy of America graduate David Hronek, who earned a position in the 2014 tournament, started working on his golf game early, heading out to the driving range with his father when he was five. As he got older, Hronek joined his grandfather on the course. Golf was family time, and the youngest Hronek excelled.
He started playing competitively in junior golf tournaments at 14, and made the varsity golf team at his high school when he was only a freshman. He played all four years.
Knowing When You Need to Learn More
On a vacation to Daytona, Hronek made a pit stop at Golf Academy of America in Orlando and decided to apply for the school. The Ohio native moved to Florida in August of 1993 to start his education.
“It was a blast,” Hronek said. “You’re going to school to learn how to teach and play golf. You can’t find that at any college around this country.”
While at the Academy, he learned the business end of the sport, and worked daily to better his playing abilities. “There’s no question I improved my game while at Golf Academy of America,” he said. “I was a decent high school player, but I got better going through that program. There is a lot of competition, and you learn how to play in competition.”
Finding a Fulfilling Career in the Golf Industry
These days, Hronek is Director of Instruction at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater, Fla. He gives lessons the majority of the time, and creates instruction programs. He’s also involved with custom club fitting, which he says is a great teaching tool. “There are so many people who are playing with the wrong shafts—too heavy or stiff,” he said. “They are not maximizing their club head speed or the distance they should be getting out of the clubs. The new technology helps improve their game so they can enjoy it more.”
When Hronek isn’t teaching, he’s working on his own game. He qualified to play in the 2014 PGA Championship Tournament by tying for eighth place at the National Club Professional Tournament, which was held in Myrtle Beach. The top 20 finishers in that tournament advanced to the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky. “I’m originally from Cincinnati,” he said, “So family and friends could come support me.”
“I wasn’t nervous on the first tee,” Hronek said. “I played right in front of Tiger in a practice round. I was behind Kenny Perry and the people were six deep from the ropes. I got used to the crowd doing that.” Hronek finished the tournament strong, saying it was, “the experience of a lifetime.”
He advised those hoping to secure a club professional position at a top program to consider an education at Golf Academy of America. “I would definitely recommend the Academy,” Hronek said. “Golf is a hard business to get into now, and the information you learn at GAA is second to none. If I hadn’t gone through the program, it would have taken me a lot longer to get where I am.”
Finding a Job That Lets You Work on Your Golf Game
As for those wanting to compete in high-level tournaments, Hronek’s first recommendation is to seek a position at a club that encourages its professionals to be good players. Then, you must be dedicated to practicing before or after your shift. “I used my time wisely to improve my game,” he said. “I watch golf to study swings and see how the pros play.”
Hronek plans to work on his game through the winter and spring to get ready for next year’s Club Pro Championship. He hopes to qualify for the PGA Championship and play at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.