Lee Curry Lightens Up and Lights It Up

August 19 2015


If you play this best of games, this maddening, fulfilling, frustrating, rewarding game of golf for any amount of time, your relationship with it will likely run through the spectrum of emotions.

You will be the best of friends, spending weekends together, having good times.



There might be times when it gets on your nerves, the same annoying patterns persist and you just decide it's better to see less of each other.

Like real friends, it might drift in and out of your life as the demands of work or family or other relationships influence your priorities.

If you are gifted and the game becomes your vocation, the relationship can get even more complicated (as most people who go into business with a friend can likely attest).

Lee Curry has been through it.

The 36-year-old former touring professional had had his good times as one of the top amateurs in Canada and then as an aspiring Canadian Tour pro, but last year he was on the outs with the game. He had always run a little hot on the golf course, but now he didn't like the person he was becoming when things weren't going his way.

After shooting a 77 at the Camelot Pro-Am last summer, it was time for a frank, life-changing sit down with golf.

"I was grinding all day long and getting up and down for pars and I kind of made a couple of doubles coming in, kind of thought I would have a good round going and then I just got pissed off and said, 'that's enough,'" he said. "I was trying so hard, I couldn't handle the pressure I was putting on myself.

"It's been going on for too long. I'm miserable on the golf course. I don't like the person I am when I'm playing like that. I don't want to do it if I'm going to be like that. Like I said, find a way to have fun."

Curry, now an apprentice professional on the professional staff at Rideau View, told golf this is the way it was going to be: "I said, 'find a way to play golf and have fun or that's enough.' Ever since then, my attitude is always 'who cares? Just go play golf. You're a good golfer. Just play golf. It's a sport. Just go play it.'

"That's what it's all about for me right now. You either have fun or you don't play is basically what it came down to."

It's a work in progress, of course. You don't change patterns that have persisted for years just like that. But it's been good so far for Curry.

Since the attitude adjustment, he won the Flagstick.com Players Tour Zone Championship a year ago at the Outaouais Golf Club with a two-day, 2-under-par total.

This summer has been a revealing stretch of solid and sometimes spectacular golf: a 21-under-par total on rounds of 65-66-70-66 to win the Canada Cup on the Quebec tour (and $30,000) at the Victoriaville Golf Club earlier this month.

He finished second in qualifying for the PGA Championship of Canada at Cabot Links in Cape Breton and made it to the quarterfinals of the match play event.

He had rounds of 69 and 68 to finish second in Hawkesbury at the Prescott-Russell Invitation in late June.

There was a win at the Camelot Pro-Am to come full circle and then a 66 in the Pro-Am at the National Capital Open at Hylands on Tuesday. Curry is playing this week at the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada event on a sponsor's exemption.

"It's just been solid golf by having a good attitude," Curry said. "Not thinking about how to do it, just going out and doing it, plain and simple, really. Find a setup that works for your putting, your chipping, your driver and your irons and just do it. I finally found what I need to do to hit good shots. I'm not practicing. I'm not playing. I'm just going out in tournaments and playing good golf just because of the attitude and trusting my ability that I'm a good golfer.

"If you have that don't care attitude it's so much easier to accept a bad shot and make smarter decisions on the course because your mind is clear. When you get pissed off, it throws you off for a few holes even if you don't think so. You're racing, you're not the same person you were before that. That's really what it's come down to."

Curry and golf are back in a good place again. They've got their arms draped over each other's shoulders. By pushing the game away for a bit, they wound up coming closer.

"You can't make a cat come to you. You've got to let it come to you, right?" he said.

He's looking forward to playing on the Mackenzie Tour again, but the way Curry looks at the game and at himself are going to be so different than a few years ago.

"(The Tour's) a grind. I don't any desire to get back out there right away. I'm fine playing against the guys I'm playing against. I know if I play well and just go play golf, I'll have some success. I'm making more money now than I ever made chasing it.

I think about getting back out there and maybe what if? I'm happy."

That's what it's about, finding that place where you can say that.

Sometimes when you stop chasing something, it comes to you.

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