Greater Trail golfer Garrett Kucher is set to tee up another breakout season on the Vancouver and PGA Canada Golf Tours.
Kucher, who is sponsored by the First Class Waste Management, also teamed up with the iconic Taylor Made label and Predator Ridge Golf Course as its golf playing ambassador. The 24-year-old golfer will swing Taylor Made clubs and represent the Okanagan course when he plays in the Vancouver Golf Tour (VGT) and PGA McKenzie Tour events this season.
“I’ll be the ambassador for the whole resort so that’s pretty cool,” said Kucher. “And that’s where I kind of hide out, train, and practice. They let me stay there and use all the practice facilities.”
Not only does the move bring Kucher, who was living in Chilliwack, closer to home, it brings him back to the Okanagan where he spent time playing hockey with the KIJHL’s Osoyoos Coyotes and teaching golf at the Osoyoos Golf Club.
“I was looking for a good reason to call the Okanagan home again, and it just kind of worked out, they gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse.”
Kucher hits the fairways on the VGT this week playing in the Player’s Championship Major held at the Sandpiper Golf Course and Chilliwack Golf Club on Thursday and Friday respectively. The Fruitvale native is coming off the PGA Canada Q School at the Comox Golf and Country Club where he placed 83rd while shooting 11-over in the 72-hole event. Getting used to the new sticks and bad luck plagued Kucher, but he’s not about to dwell on it as he gets set for this weekend’s event.
“I’m just working out the kinks, but it’s really early in the season,” said Kucher. “I started worse last year in my season and finished on a really big high … It was my first time going to qualifying school, I’ve just gotten into big events because of my success playing, I haven’t tried to get my card, but I was actually pretty pleased with the experience.”
The dynamic ball striker played in close to 50 events last year including Trail’s Birchbank Open and a couple PGA Canada events in Alberta. He won the most improved golfer on the VGT after winning five times last season, and hopes to pare down some of his schedule to make room and preparation for the PGA Canada events.
The big-ticket tournaments for Kucher this year is the BC Golf Championship at Gallagher’s Canyon, the Freedom 55 Financial, Q-School qualifier and hopefully the Birchbank Open in Trail.
“I can’t give you a 100 per cent, but I’m hoping to squeeze in Birchbank this year. Like I said last year it was one of my favourite wins, just for the hardware and to play a round in front of my grandparents was honestly a dream come true.”
Kucher also added BC Golf as his clothing sponsor and a couple of Kelowna backers in Wesco and Sun City Electrical. His new team is rounded out by a new coach and manager in Brodie Carle, who is also one of Kucher’s closest friends. Carle works for Predator Ridge as its head instructor and has coached NCAA students, Canadian PGA, and WEB.com tour players, and was the recipient of CPGA Moe Norman Award for the top apprentice/instructor of the year in 2014, and BC PGA instructor of the year in 2016.
“My teams just getting stronger and stronger, and I’m doing more things to get better at the game,” said Kucher. “I haven’t had a coach yet that I’ve been this excited for my team and my sponsors.”
And, as any golfer knows, the key to consistency is maintaining a solid mental game as well, and Kucher has worked on that part through neuro kinetics and mental training or what he calls “brain school.” The training helps participants maintain focus and confidence and recognize the indicators of trying to do too much or too little and the means to correct that on the course at the most critical time, says Kucher.
“I’m checking off more boxes on a checklist and that will set me up to have success, rather than waiting to get on a roll,” he added. “But that’s the whole key if you have a bad week you can’t act like it’s the end of the world, and that’s the key in getting to the next level – your worst game still has to be good.”
Kucher thanks all his friends and family for their support, as he gets set to tee off at the VGT Players Championship Major this week.