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Don Berry Interview As He Seeks His Fourth Consecutive Minnesota Senior Open Victory

May 28, 2015

With the Minnesota Senior Open coming up this next week, I had the opportunity of interviewing 3-time defending champion and Section Member Don Berry of Edinburgh USA. Berry’s latest victory in the Senior Open came this past year after coming from behind in the final round shooting a 69 (-3) after opening two strokes off the lead at Hastings Country Club.

2013SRdonberry

Berry hoisting trophy after 2013 victory at Hillcrest GC

Berry answered a few questions in regards to the game of golf and the impact it has had on his life. He recently competed in the 76th Senior PGA Championship this past week at Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Larry Bird’s hometown, in Indiana. In regards to the meaning of being a PGA member and his recent success, “I’ve always loved competing in golf and playing tournaments so it’s not hard for me to prepare to play well,” said Berry. “I enjoy the people in golf, specifically the other professionals and amateurs I play with. A high percentage of my lifelong friends are from growing up in the game of golf.”

He reiterated his desire to be competitive and stay even-keeled “I love the feel of being in competition so when I don’t perform well, it just makes me look forward to the next time that much more. Golf is a tough game and you can’t just play good all the time which has taken me many years to learn.” This thought serves as a reminder to all golfers regardless of skill or experience that nobody is perfect and even the best in their profession struggle at times.

Don reflected on his past successes as a member of the PGA which include 22 Minnesota Professional Major Championships: 8 PGA, 7 Tapemarks, 5 Minnesota Golf Champions and 2 Minnesota State Opens. “Making the cut in the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club and playing the final round with Tom Watson was something I will never forget,” said Berry. He won his first tournament in 1988 at the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am which he has now won a combined seven times in his playing career.

Berry is a golf instructor and spoke briefly on the benefits of helping grow the game. He explained “it is rewarding just introducing the game to kids and knowing they are likely to become lifelong golfers. The goal should be to develop lifelong golfers from junior programs and relay the message to parents that golf is a game of a lifetime.” Berry encourages all of the kids he has contact with to play other sports such as baseball, hockey, football, and more growing up, but stress that when they get older they will probably play one sport; golf.

Lastly, he gave advice to those looking to get into the sport regardless of experience and age “start from the cup back meaning begin learning by making shorter putts then work back when you can consistently hit good putts from around 25 feet out. Then learn how to chip and eventually work back to the full swing and driver” Berry emphasized. “Too many people begin by hitting full shots, especially drivers; I think it is the wrong way to learn the game.”

Berry will look to make it a fourth straight Minnesota Senior Open victory on June 2-3 at Island View Golf Club in Waconia, MN. The previous three years he has come from behind in the final round to capture the title, so do not count out a comeback starting next Tuesday. Don Berry tees off Tuesday at 1:32pm beginning with Island View Golf Club’s front nine. His pairing includes Kevin Cashman, Scott Thul, and John Spreiter.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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