BY RYAN KEMP
Golf may be near the bottom of sports interests of teens and people in their 20s, but Greg Duncan doesn’t care what the majority thinks. The 24-year-old Jensen Beach resident is making a splash at local golf tournaments. His love of the game has grown here, but it started where he was born — in Scotland.
He loved golf as a child and decided to bring that with him to the United States when he was 14 years old.
“I started when I was 3 years old because my dad got me into it and I was hooked from there,” Duncan says.
“It was nice to see my kid love golf at such a young age,” said Ken Duncan, Greg’s father. “He really was a natural at it and its always great to have a common interest with your kids.”
Duncan had to make a number of adjustments to his adopted country, including the golf courses.
“It was tough. The weather was something I had to get used to over here and just the way the courses are laid out is completely different,” he said. “Over there, you have hills and more bunkers, where here is mostly just an air game.”
When asked which he prefers, he said, “I’d have to say Scotland. You can be more creative with your shots over there and it’s always more exciting to play that way.”
Another change was the level of competition, which he says is greater in the U.S.
“In Scotland, you really only have about three tours, whereas here you have tours all around the country such as the West Coast tours, Carolina tours and all the tours here in Florida,” Duncan said. “That’s what makes the play around here a lot more competitive.”
Golf wasn’t the only thing he had to adjust to, however.
“It was hard for me to leave all my friends in Scotland, come over here and not know anyone,” Duncan said. “Golf helped me adjust to that, though, as the more I played here the more great people I met. So it’s not just a game for me but a way of life.”
Golf has regained some of its appeal to younger people, Duncan says, because of younger stars such as Ricky Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
“I think we can thank Tiger for that,” he said. “He definitely helped promote the game a lot for the younger generation. The kids watched it for him, and now all those kids are coming of age to compete for the tournaments they saw Tiger dominate.”
Sponsors play a big role, too, for up-and-coming players like him. “It’s very tough to get sponsors, and really it’s all about connections and being lucky, honestly,” he said.
With so many young great golfers, which does Duncan look up to the most?
“I would have to be between Rory McIlroy and Jason Day,” he said. “I would go with Day because he not only wins but the way he goes about it. He is very humble and from a golf standpoint he is so calm under pressure. That is a big part of golf.
“It doesn’t matter if he is teeing off on the first hole or putting for a birdie to win a tournament. You see no difference in him and he just sinks it. I definitely want that to be a big part of my game as well.”
One particular win that stands out for every athlete. For Duncan, it was his first tournament win, which was at Evergreen Golf Club in Palm City.
“The weather conditions were terrible,” he said. “I still ended up shooting three-under and went to a four-hole playoff. It just felt great finally getting that first tournament win under my belt and knowing that I can do that again.”
Duncan has been a pro for five years now and hopes to build on that and other successes on the GOLFslinger.com Tour. “I’ve won five professional tournaments so far, but hopefully that’ll increase.”