Josh Apple is passionate enough to chase his dream. He's taking a risk by joining the eGolf Profession Tour in North Carolina once he graduates in May from . There's no guarantee he'll make it big. But that's a chance he's willing to take.
“Playing golf as a full-time profession is a tough decision," Apple said. “I decided to go. Going pro has to be your full-time job if you want to do well.”
The eGolf Tour, formerly the Tar Heel Tour, is the third-level men’s professional golf tour. The tour consists of 17 tournaments throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. It's designed to give outstanding players the opportunity to play in the Nationwide and the PGA Tour.
“This tour is good because it weeds out all of the players who do not belong,” said Apple.
Tournaments are filled with more than 200 players, most of whom are fresh out of college. Only the top 70 players of each tournament will earn a cash prize.
This will be Apple's first eGolf event.
“I am good enough to be on the tour but, not good enough to win,” he said. “I still have a lot of things I need to do in order to reach that level, before I am 100 percent ready."
There are 26.2 million golfers in the United States, of which there are only 28,000 members of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. A "golfer," for data purposes, is anyone over 18 years old who has played at least one regulation round of golf in the past 12 months.
“If Josh can apply his passion for the game and George Mason into his pursuit of a professional golf career, the eGolf Tour will just be a stepping stone on his way to bigger and better things,” said Scott King, Mason’s golf coach. “He will go as far in golf as he wants to.”
As a member of the Mason men's golf team, Apple qualified in his first tournament, the St. John's tournament at Bethpage in Long Island, and played in the team’s first spot. He finished in the top 10. That same year Apple was the top Mason scorer in four tournaments. In the 2010-2011 season, Apple held a 75 round average, third best on the team.
He's been playing golf for as long as he can remember. His father, Bill Apple, played golf at Duke University and passed the game along to him at a young age. Bill is his son’s biggest supporter and mentor. They play together every weekend when Josh visits his Leesburg home.
Apple has worked hard to become the athlete he is today. He spends his summers playing in the Virginia State Golf Association and Washington Metropolitan Golf Association tournaments. During the winter, Apple goes to heated driving ranges and has a weight lifting regimen specially designed for golf.
“The best thing about golf is how rewarding it is," he said. "It is such a hard sport with lots of disappointments, but when you play really well it’s a great feeling."