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The Best Experience I Ever Had

Contributing Blogger: Brandon Baumgarten, participant, The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

The 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open was the best experience I have ever had.  While I was driving to the tournament, I was sitting in the car thinking about how the tournament was going to play out and if it was going to be everything that I expected.

After the week at Pebble Beach, I am happy to say that the tournament surpassed all the stories I had heard and exceeded my expectations. From the very first night at the Pairings Party to shaking my competitors hands after the final round at Pebble Beach everything was just spectacular.

Every moment spent during the week of the tournament was something never to forget.  One of my many unforgettable moments was sitting down at the pairings party just waiting for my name to be called to see who I was playing with and surprisingly I felt more nervous sitting there waiting, then teeing off in the second to last pairing on Sunday at Pebble Beach. Minute after minute I grew more and more eager to hear my name, but it never came. I was starting to wonder if my name was even going to be called, but the fourth to final name was mine.

As I stood up I felt a shock wave go through me, and I thought to myself, “WOW! I’m really here!” Then my pro was announced and it was Brad Bryant.  At that moment I felt the pure joy and excitement of finally realizing that I get to play golf with a Champions Tour Professional on national television. 

Following the party was the start of the most amazing week I have ever experienced. The golf was memorable, having the chance to play along with Mr. Bryant all weekend and with a couple of amazing amateurs. My goal for the week was just to make the cut and play on Sunday at Pebble.

Brandon with (left to right) Jeff Sluman, 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open Champion; Jon Nudi, VP Snack Division at General Mills, Cassie Cathrea, 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open Junior Champion, Austin Landis, third place junior, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. CEO of The First Tee

However, following play on Saturday I found Brad and I in 2nd place and teeing off in the second to last group on Sunday. Sunday at Pebble was a great experience. We had the Golf Chanel following us the whole round and had our own cheering section.  I felt like a PGA professional! During the tournament I learned much more about proper etiquette and how to handle pressure with help from Mr. Bryant and the amateurs.

It was great experience to be a part of a professional tournament. The Nature Valley First Tee Open is something everyone should strive towards. THANKS NATURE VALLEY!

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