Junior Golf: Poway High grad finds passion in mentoring U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team
By Michael Bower
Adam Porzak was ready to hit the PGA Tour some 10 months ago. The 2005 Poway High graduate was on top of his game and set to earn a living playing the sport that put him through Pepperdine University and San Diego State.
However, just as Porzak was closing in on his dream a shoulder injury landed him on the operating table and kept him from practicing for several months.
But in that time the 25-year-old would learn he can be just as valuable on the golf course without a club in his hand than with one.
“I was tour-ready before the surgery,” explained Porzak, who finished earning his sports psychology degree at National University in 2011. “I have a 4-year-old daughter and a life. I decided I can’t stop making money because of an injury.”
Porzak, a four-time MVP while at Poway and 2001 runner-up at the Junior World Championships, would become an instructor at Impact Golf at White Deer Run Golf Course in Vernon Hills, Illinois. It is considered by many to be one of the top golf schools in the nation.
“I am the on-course playing professional,” Porzak said. “I take all the technicalities taught on the range and help golfers implement them on the course.”
Then a golden opportunity presented itself. Porzak was selected to be an Advisor and Mentor to the 2012 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team. The event took place at the end of September at Olympia Fields Country Club, which is about 25 miles south of Chicago.
It was especially exciting for Porzak since he played in the Junior Ryder Cup in 2002.
“It was ironic that it happened because I happened to be in Chicago at Olympia Fields and I got the call,” he said. “At first, I didn’t know the kind of role they wanted for me.”
The role was perfect for Porzak. He got a chance to use his sports psychology degree and connect with today’s top young players. He would walk the course with the kids and help keep morale up and the team loose. He excelled and so did Team USA, as it ended up winning for the third straight year.
“This is weird coming from me, especially because I have always been a player and I have always invested in myself and what I am doing,” Porzak said. “But I can honestly say I was more into it than I was when I played. It was an experience of a lifetime.”
Porzak spent the entire week with the U.S. players. Since he wasn’t much older than the 15- 17-year-olds playing, Porzak was able to establish a bond. He chatted them up about music, football and, of course, golf.
“I found ways to relate to them,” Porzak said. “These kids have so much pressure on them, it was my job to go out there and help get rid of that. We were out there playing the last few holes talking about football.”
The team had six of the top boys and six of the top girls picked from across the nation. Many of them have bright futures ahead in the sport of golf.
“This team wasn’t just full of great golfers,” Porzak said. “These were phenomenal kids and they all carried themselves very well and were very polite. You could just tell they were all raised very well.”
The experience certainly made an impact on Porzak. He said he plans to come out to San Diego in the winter to do some teaching on the golf course and play professionally. He added that his shoulder is now 100 percent and his days living in Chicago could be numbered.
“I love Chicago,” he said. “I love the city almost more than any in the world. But I love Poway. I have so many friends and family and my mom and dad are there.”
Porzak could be one of the few that teaches and plays professionally. For now, both of those dreams are alive.
“I am going to pursue playing on the tour,” he said. “But one thing I have been fortunate and blessed with is that I have the ability to teach and not lose my game.”
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