Monday, February 9, 2009

A New Kind of Pro: How 43-Year-Old Phil Bundy is Connecting With and Inspiring Others Through New Media

On January 1, 2009, Phil Bundy began in earnest his quest to make it on the PGA Tour.

The skills and desire are there. He’s physically fit. His priorities and perspective give him an advantage over younger players. To ask the question "Will he make it on the PGA Tour?" would be a waste of valuable time. There’s no reason why he can’t. He’s more prepared and ready than most PGA Tour pros his age, or half his age, who are teeing it up this week.

He’s already been a champion golfer as a member of the 1986 NCAA Champion Wake Forest University golf team. He’s been successful in business for many years. He has a wife, a young son, a beautiful family. Why, then, is he trying to make a go at the PGA Tour "He (his son Charlie, age 5) also loves golf," Bundy explains, "and if I don’t do this, someday he will ask why." Most people who know him would ask the same thing.

Certainly, he’s proving something to himself and setting an example for his son, but he’s doing much more. On a practical level, he’s committed to supporting charitable organizations and putting on junior golf clinics in conjunction with PGA Tour events. On another, more existential level, he’s proving that anyone can chase (and catch) their dreams, not blindly, but with preparation, desire and forethought. He’s spreading the word, and inspiration, about his quest by using technology, social media, and his personal blog. Phil’s use of technology is potentially reaching more people in new ways than anyone has done.

Recently, Phil was kind enough to spend a little time with Sports Writer HQ and answer a few of our questions.

SHQ: How have you prepared for your quest to play on the PGA Tour?

Phil Bundy: After my son provided the final inspiration to embark on my quest, I decided to recruit a "dream team" to help me prepare. My advisors are helping me with all facets of the game, including my swing, fitness, nutrition, and mental game. I have also extended my team to include experts in social media, marketing, and public relations.

SHQ: What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced since you began preparing?

Phil Bundy: As I made swing changes, I initially had difficulty playing with my new swing in tournaments. On the driving range and in practice rounds, I swung with ease, but in competition, I suffered from paralysis by analysis. Finally, on the 10th hole in a small event in Virginia Beach, I told myself to relax and just do it. On the back nine, I shot 33 and won the tournament for my first of two mini tour victories.

SHQ: Why the blog? What role is it playing in the mix of things and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Phil Bundy: As passionate as I am about golf, I also love reading, writing, and technology. While playing tournament golf is my primary focus, I hope the blog will provide a way for me to share my journey with other people.

SHQ: I know you like technology and the Internet and that you use social media. What have websites like Twitter done for you and your career?

Phil Bundy: Twitter and other social media websites have helped me to reach out and build an audience. As I have interacted, I have been truly amazed by the number of people who are interested in my quest, who have offered encouragement, and who have, in turn, touched and inspired me.

SHQ: It's only been a month or so, but have your efforts been as successful as you had hoped at this point?

Phil Bundy: In the short time since launching my quest on January 1, I have been overwhelmed with the support that I have received, including well wishes from so many old and new friends. Sponsors are coming forward to help fund expenses; I have been fortunate that reporters and bloggers have embraced and shared my story; and I am looking forward to my upcoming tournament season.

Although not as important as the larger issues of teaching his son and helping charitable interests, his use of new media to attract a following is an example of how blogs and social media have become mainstream. Quality blogs are not only "mainstream", but effective and a first choice for Phil in telling his story.

Follow Phil’s journey at his blog, I know SHQ will (and we’ll keep you informed).

1 comment:

  1. Awesome interview. Very good learning tool for aspiring writers.