The long and difficult road to playing professional golf — and making it to the bigs — is amass with obstacles to overcome. Golfers are bound to encounter challenges, whether they’re health-related and/or financial. For 31-year-old Andrew Parr, it’s been a combination. (Be sure to watch the video above — I promise you won’t regret it.)
At 24, Parr was a highly accomplished golfer. As an amateur, he’d earned multiple titles throughout the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. He was also an All-American at Texas A&M University. When he graduated in 2007, he captured his maiden victory at his first ever professional tournament on the Gateway Tour.
Then, he endured a life-changing event: He had a stroke.
Parr experienced damage to the left hemisphere of his brain, which controls the right side of the body, language and speech. As he was regaining feeling back on his right side, he found simple tasks, such as typing, “nearly impossible,” and he also stumbled with his speech. However, through hard work, dedication and belief, Parr was able to reteach himself basic movements and relearn functions he once took for granted.
“It hits you in the face and you look at everything you’ve done in your life — where it’s gotten to a point where everything is thrown out the window,” said Parr in a phone interview. “I wanted so badly to be one of the best golfers in the world for so much of my life and when that happened, it basically was crushed.
“But after the first week, when I realized I can move, I said, let’s see if I can do this with having this adversity, this challenge. I started this mentality that I wasn’t going to let anything stop me or what anyone said or thought about what I could do or couldn’t do after that experience. I was extremely motivated. It was an experiment, it was a test to see if I can come back.”
His stroke also didn’t stop Parr from continuing his pursuit to play professional golf. A mere six months after having the stroke, he qualified for the Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour. Just a short time later that summer in 2008, Parr tied for first before losing in a playoff at an event on the Canadian Tour. He earned another runner-up finish a few months later. In 2009 he qualified for the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black and led briefly after the rain-delayed first day.
In 2012 Parr competed in several European Tour events and in his debut, he finished 13th at the Joburg Open. Then, in 2013, he qualified to play on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
Over the last four years, Parr has found himself more grounded and in tune with himself as a person and a golfer.
“I have a better understanding of myself of traveling all over the world and playing in adverse conditions,” he said. “I’ve gone through a lot of things that have pushed me to grow very quickly.
“Also, doing things that make me feel uncomfortable, like swing changes that are very uncomfortable that I worked on with Sean (Foley, swing coach and close friend). Now I feel like I’m in burst, I have a new beginning. I’m finally at a point where I’m really excited where I am as a player.”
Parr’s challenges — like any professional golfer trying to pursue his dream — have gone beyond battling his health issues. Last year he couldn’t compete for a full season on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica due to financial reasons.
“I was just at a point in the last season where I couldn’t finish the last 7 events on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica Tour just because I didn’t have any funds,” said Parr. “I basically stalled out and I had to take the second half of the season off.”
Parr also had a three-year sponsorship agreement with an investment bank in Canada that was coming to an end.
“I was looking at my offseason and thinking how I was going to do it,” he said.
That’s around the time when Sean Foley suggested he try to raise money through crowd-funding.
“In the offseason I was hanging out at Tiger Woods’ tournament (the World Challenge) with Sean Foley and he suggested to me, ‘Why don’t you do a crowd fund and I’ll contribute a day to that and the funds will go directly to you.’
“That’s where the idea caught fire. Having Foley behind me was such a huge thing.”
If you check out Andrew’s crowd-funding page, you’ll see, “The Sean Foley Experience,” as something you can bid on. Here’s the description:
1 day of private instruction. Sean is the coach of Tiger, Rose and Mahan, among many others. This is an extremely exclusive offer, as Sean Foley is not available for coaching to the general public.You and up to 5 friends will have the opportunity to spend five hours with Sean in Orlando, Florida. The day includes 2 hours of morning instruction, lunch, then 2 hours of instruction in the afternoon. A memorable, entertaining and fascinating day of golf.
The experience is worth $30,000. Which, if you think about it, isn’t that much for six people. I know there are plenty of you who have the extra dough to shell out $5,000 for a good cause.
If you can’t afford this perk, though, there are plenty of other options you can select to contribute and be part of “Team Parr” — even if it’s $5.
With only three days left in his campaign, he’s raised $42,157 — 56% of his goal of $75,000.
Whether or not he achieves this mark, Parr has relished in the experience and hopes you’ll feel moved to contribute.
“People will either be inspired by my story and not,” he said. “That’s why the platform is there. It’s there for people who want to connect to an athlete and a person. To be a part of someone who’s trying to do something that’s very difficult and requires a lot of support to reach a high level — both in terms of coaching and financial support. It just requires a lot.
“There will be people who it resonates with and people it won’t resonate with, but I want it to attract the people it does resonate with. That’s what’s so cool about this platform is that it really creates a community. I’ve been so clearly able to see that in the last month from people who have not only contributed but also shared my story.”
So, why should you feel compelled to be a part of Team Parr? Well, I think that’s already been made abundantly clear, but don’t forget, you get something back depending on the level of your contribution/sponsorship.
“The coolest thing about this campaign it ranges from $5 to thousands of dollars and I wanted to provide instant value,” said Parr. “I wanted to lay that out in a transparent way. I wanted to give people access from everything from material golf goods to highly expertise coaching — really some of the best coaching in the world and I wanted people to have access to those things.
“If people wanted to know any question about golf, there’s really someone in this campaign that can answer that. I think that’s so cool that it exists even for that reason — it’s really transparent and creates great value. This allows me to do what I love to do, so not only do you get good value, but you also get to connect with someone who is trying to pursue their dream.”
Don’t wait — you have T-minus 3 days and counting. Contribute and be a part of Team Parr right now. Go HERE for all the information you need.