Julie Brown: Like Mother, Like Daughter
Fairways & Greens
Julie Brown has been surrounded by great golf all her life. Her mother, who held a 2 handicap for 20 years (and is still a 9 at age 76), introduced Brown to the game at age five. “I was so young we only played one hole,” recalls Brown, “Then three holes the next summer, then more often when I turned 12.” Brown followed Tour events as an avid fan, collecting autographs and marveling at the shot making. She also watched her mom take home a number of trophies from amateur competitions. Hooked, Brown played Junior golf events, notably finishing runner-up in the 1966 PGA Junior.
Brown grew even closer to the game as a member of the Miami-Dade Junior College golf team and soon after a scholarship recipient to play golf at Florida International University. Brown helped her Junior College to a National Championship in 1974. The Miami News County runner-up in 1973, Brown qualified as an amateur to play in the Burdines Invitational, an LPGA event, in 1974. Now a member of both the LPGA and PGA, Brown has competed in LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Division National and Section events as well as Georgia PGA Section events. Perhaps her best memory of professional tournament competition was the 1996 LPGA Michelob Light Heartland Classic.
“The Heartland Classic was the ultimate treat for me in many ways,” says Brown, who had spent the previous 18 years working on her skills as a teacher and manager in the golf industry. “I wanted to give the player within myself a chance to get out and perform.” Her first round in the Classic was thrilling. “I played the first nine at one over par,” notes Brown. “Wow! I was walking on sunshine…I knew what it felt like to play great golf and trust myself to play the game.”
Brown felt it a privilege to be out there on the Forest Hills Country Club course with some of the best players in the world; she remembers the fans fondly, their support and cheers (We’re pullin’ for ya!”) ringing in her ears as she walked the fairways, destined for a memorable finish at the 18th. Her back nine could have gone better, but she pressed hard not to let it get to her, despite losing strokes. Brown’s approach at 18 went over the green. She gave the crowd something to really cheer about coming back, however, as her chip shot trickled down the hill and flirted with the cup before just edging past for a tap-in par.
“I was proud of staying in the game and finishing strong,” says Brown. “Not letting the ‘less than perfect’ shots spoil the big picture is what keeps me coming back.” With her early start in golf, Brown’s career as a golf professional seems fitting, but her determination to continue learning and help others improve makes her an even better candidate for the job. Brown’s students appreciate her ability to communicate the game in simple terms, describing it in a way that makes sense to them based on their level of experience. “I want to help others enjoy the game as much as I do,” says Brown. “It’s great to see their satisfaction with the good shots they produce. I can see the bright light of success go on for them – it is very rewarding.”
Brown believes that training in golf is similar whether you are a 20 handicap or a 5. You should first seek out a PGA or LPGA teaching professional to learn what it is you need to work on. She recommends you work with the pro to get a feel for what you need to do to improve. “Learning a swing that is reliable requires repetition and more repetition,” notes Brown, who adds that building such a swing also means more practice on the range. Take advantage of that time on the range; use drills and develop your own pre-shot routine. The range is for mastering and refining your skills. “When you get out on the course, let yourself trust what you accomplished on the range,” says Brown. “Put yourself on automatic pilot and empty your mind of swing technique clutter.”
Intermediate and advanced players should keep records of their shots, for example fairways hit, greens in regulation, up and downs, number of putts and so forth, according to Brown. “Share these statistics with your pro to see which areas need improvement and what can be done,” adds Brown. Recently, a student of Brown’s called in to thank her. She had taken a lesson with Brown and gone out to play the next day. “Julie,” she said, “I had the best round ever in my life.” Brown was pleased, but quick to point out that she merely provided some direction so that the student could then go out and play her game. Brown has helped three other students in the past to win their flights in Club Championships when she worked at a private club.
“I like to clear up misconceptions students might have about making a good swing or lowering their scores,” says Brown. “I adhere to one or two key points for each student so eventually those become automatic for them. We create a practice plan that fits their style and schedule so they practice effectively and realize improvement.” Brown has worked hard all her life at golf and knows what it can mean to your game to implement a reliable practice routine. When things get tough out on the course for Brown, she tells herself to stay with the routine, check her focus and take deep breaths. Concentrate on one shot at a time at the target, she says. No wonder she saved par on 18 at the Heartland Classic!
Born in Corry, Pennsylvania, Brown now resides in Atlanta with her two cats, D’tail and Smiley. Her favorite course to play is the Pineisle Resort on Lake Lanier Islands. “Eight holes line the 38,000 acre lake, and there are gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” smiles Brown. You might catch her there, splashing it beautifully out of a greenside bunker to within one-putt range, her favorite shot to make. It’s no surprise Brown became an expert at this shot from hours of practice…learn more about a lesson with Julie Brown by e-mailing her at julielpgagolfpro@gmail.com.  Thanks, Julie!