American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?Kevin Streelman: I grew up golfing in the early 90s in the western suburbs of Chicago. My family never belonged to a country club so my parents and I would spend our summers traversing across northern Illinois to whatever public golf courses I either had tournaments or high school matches at. It truly was a special and memorable time for me. To this day, both my parents dearly love the game and they were my first coaches and instructors. I never could have made it without Mom and Dad.
KS: After graduating from Duke University, I spent six years grinding on the mini tours across the U.S. At first I was terrible, hardly making any cuts or money, however by about year five I started to get the hang of it and actually compete and win a number of lower level professional events. By year six, I was 28 years old and felt confident enough to make a realistic run. Later that year, in 2008 I earned my PGA Tour Card by successfully qualifying through the Q-School.
AG: Which was more thrilling - your first TOUR win at the Tampa Bay Championship (now Valspar) or birdieing the final seven holes at the Travelers Championship to win by one over Sergio and KJ Choi?
KS: They were both incredible and memorable weeks for me. Each for their own challenges. It's almost like asking someone to pick their favorite child. I will never forget my first win in Tampa, to be able to close the deal with a one shot lead going into Sunday and hitting some of the best shots of my life under the brightest of lights is something I will always cherish. What happened at the Travelers was just surreal. It will probably go down as the greatest professional accomplishment of my career. To birdie the final seven to win by one was truly beyond a dream come true.
AG: Describe a typical non-tournament day for you.
KS: At home I usually wake up and head to the gym for an hour and a half. I'll come home, get the kids ready for school and drop them off on my way up to Whisper Rock. I practice for a few hours and then pick the kids up around noon. I'll drop them off at home and maybe get a quick nine in during nap time. I'm always home by the end of nap time and love grilling out in the backyard with a nice glass of wine while the kids run around the backyard. My wife and I love the sun and healthy lifestyle of Scottsdale, Arizona and plan on staying here for a long time.
AG: You recently partnered with RESTORE to restore your hairline. Why did you decide to call RESTORE? How is the result, and what reaction do you get from fans and friends?
KS: My friend Brian Urlacher got me in touch with Jordan and the great team at RESTORE. His procedure came out so incredibly well that I was excited to go in for a consultation. Ever since I graduated from college I have had a thinning hairline and I was very interested in any potential options. Everyone at RESTORE was extremely professional and accommodating and it wasn't long until I had my procedure scheduled. I couldn't be happier with the results. A lot of friends who don't know take a look at me and say something is different, but no one can put a finger on it. It really came out great.
AG: What’s the most common mistake you see amateur golfers make on the course?
KS: The most common mistake I see amateur golfers make is poor aim and club selection. Everyone thinks they hit it farther than they do, and most every high digit handicap golfer aims too far to the right (for a right handed golfer) forcing them to come over the top to get the ball back on line. I tell most all of my pro am partners to fix your alignment, and take at least one extra club.
AG: Is there a shot you dread?
KS: Yes, but I don't wanna talk about it!!!
AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
KS: It has to start with our children. Programs like first tee and PGA Junior League are amazing opportunities for our youth. I love how they teach more than just how to swing a golf club. They teach how to become better people and contributors to society. In addition, it definitely helps that Tiger is playing great golf again. He undoubtedly moves the needle on a global stage.
AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
KS: Mom. Jesus. Ben Hogan. If anyone could hit it better than Hogan, it'd have to be Jesus, and I'd love to see it.
AG: You've played the greatest courses in the world. Is there still a course that tops your “bucket list” to play?
KS: Yes, National Golf Links of America, out in the Hamptons of New York. I've played most of the great ones, but that is one I would love to check out.
To learn more about Streelman, visit kevinstreelmangolf.com and follow on Twitter @Streels54.