Alumni Feature - Casey Pyne '11
As a transfer student, Casey Pyne ‘11 feared he would never have a full college experience during his two short years at Lewis. Thankfully, the Business Administration major not only got the full Lewis experience he was hoping for, but he also learned skills that would help him in more ways than he ever imagined as he pursued his true passion: golf.
Casey worked hard to soak up as much as he could during his years at Lewis, living by the mantra “Take the hard teachers and push your learning to the next level.” His favorite class was a business class with Fr. Kevin Spiess, one of the “hard” teachers.
“I’d never had a professor that could put you on the spot like Fr. Spiess,” Casey says. “His classes were engaging; he used humor to keep the class alive and it definitely brought the best out of his students. You had to be prepared when you came into his class, it was very intense. If you weren’t ready, he was going to run you over! It was truly an eye-opening experience.”
While he may not have loved the class in the moment, Casey feels that Fr. Spiess truly prepared him for the real world. Most students chase a dream job. Casey chases a dream to be a golf professional – and his time at Lewis prepared him for the rocky road that comes with the dream.
“Since I graduated from Lewis, I’ve had my share of great learning experiences,” Casey says. “As a professional golfer, there were definitely some lean times. Using my degree from Lewis to help with the business side of the game became crucial.”
Being a professional golfer comes with many highs and lows, all of which, for Casey, are seen as character-shaping learning experiences. Through the highs and lows, Casey was able to apply what he learned at Lewis to help guide him through the entrepreneurial side of his professional golf career. There’s much more that goes into being a professional golfer than many realize. While you must be good at playing the game, you are also your own manager. As a business major, Casey was able to successfully set up an LLC and raise money to help get into golf tournaments, which are often pricey.
Shortly after graduating from Lewis, Casey spent three summers playing on the Dakotas Tour, a professional golf tour in the Midwest. While he had a handful of good finishes, including a tie for third in the North Dakota Open in 2015, the entry fees were costing him. Casey was headed down a slippery slope, putting entry fees on credit cards just to get a shot to play.
“I played harder than I ever have in my life, but it just wasn't sustainable,” Casey says.
He decided it was time for a change. He looked into the Northeast area and took a shot at working for the well-renowned Stanwich Club, where he is now an assistant golf professional.
“Nowadays, I still play and practice, but my responsibilities go further than my own game,” Casey says. “As an assistant golf professional, I have a wide variety of responsibilities. I help with the tournament operations, whether that's a member-only event at the club or an outside golf outing. I also assist with the running of our golf shop, merchandising, answering phones, shop sales, and the overall servicing of the members at the club.”
Casey is also running junior clinics, working with a handful of kids on the fundamentals of their golf game, and giving lessons to members and other golfers in the area. During the colder months, he heads to sunny Florida to continue practicing and preparing for upcoming tournaments, such as the upcoming Asian Tour Qualifying School.
This year, Casey has the opportunity to head to Thailand for the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School. The Asian Tour Qualifying School is a golf tournament that has two stages overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. The tournament will host around 800 players in the first set of events, which will be cut down to around 250 in the final stage. The top 40 to 50 finishers in the final stage will gain status on the Asian Tour, meaning they will have a right to play in the events on the tour.
“A shot or two in the final stage can mean the difference between heading home and playing for million-dollar purses each weekend,” Casey states. This will be Casey’s second time going to a Qualifying School, his first time being the Web.com tour in 2015.
While Casey’s golf talent came naturally, he owes his business success to his time and professors at Lewis. While he may have feared he missed out on that four year Lewis experience, he definitely didn't miss out on the quality of his education or the memories.
“My advice to others is to take those challenging classes,” Casey says. “You’re only going to learn from the professors who challenge you. There are no opportunities for extra credit after you graduate!”