The 2018 Pine to Palm Champion Jackson Foth will be making a stop in Detroit Lakes for this year’s tournament before attempting to move his career along professionally later in the year.
Memories of his big hitting run to the title at Detroit Country Club bring back great memories of the tournament.
“I still look back on it as a really fun week,” said Foth. “I just love how big of a deal it is up there and how they treat the tournament and the whole facility. I think back through the match and it could have gone either way a couple times. It’s just awesome.”
Foth plans to return this year working the bag of 2014 champion and former Kansas Jayhawk teammate Ben Welle.
“I can at least get a picture of my name on the championship board; it’ll be cool to see it,” said Foth.
Caddying for Welle will be a returned favor as well. Welle was on Foth’s bag the final four matches last year bringing his championship mentality to the final.
Foth finished his summer season in Detroit Lakes last August and began all the preparations for turning professional.
“I basically looked at all the paperwork to turn pro and starting your own little business,” he said. “Trying to round up some sponsors to go do all of this stuff and that was a process. I didn’t really have many tournaments.”
Foth followed up his win at the Pine with an amateur victory in Kansas City.
“I just kept playing while I got all my paperwork and the fine print put together and trying to get organized after that,” he said.
Foth began professional play in January.
“It’s a lot more work than I initially thought,” he said. “If you’re independently wealthy it’s a little bit easier. I had to put myself out there, present myself to these sponsors to see what they’d say and it was a little nerve wracking, to be honest. I played well last year and had some stuff to show them so it went pretty well. That was a relief to get that done. You just have to present yourself and your game well and show that you’re committed.”
Foth has committed to those next steps and has qualified for tournaments on multiple tours around the midwest as he gets ready to make a run for a PGA card via Q school.
“That’s the only way to the PGA tour really unless you go full Patrick Reed and just Monday qualify in and make it,” he said. “That’s a pretty tough road. Just getting on what is now the Corn Ferry (formerly Web.Com) tour is pretty difficult these days. You either have to go through Q school or one of the foreign tours, China, Latin America or Canada. Just getting on those is tough. It’s a grind.”
Foth has adapted his game since a confident and aggressive run at the Pine to Palm. His current objective takes different tactics compared to winning the Resorter's Tournaments (Birchmont, Resorters and Pine to Palm).
“You’ve got a find a way to get there,” said Foth. “It’s a lot of pressure, but you just have to seize your opportunities.”
Foth has played some Dakota tour events and seen plenty of competition even at that level.
“These guys can shoot 64 out there and they’re just playing for mini-tour stuff,” he said. “There is a ton of competition. When you get out there and get an opportunity you’ve got to play well and it can change your life.”
Foth made far more changes to how he approaches his game rather than how he hits the ball in the past 12 months.
“I’m just trying to learn how to manage my game as weird as that sounds, just trying to keep the ball in front of me and not do anything dumb,” he said. “At the Pine, I was playing really aggressive because it was match play. It’s not quite like that in stroke play events. I feel like my wedges have gotten a lot better and I’ve gotten better at course management.”
Foth banged driver all around Detroit Country Club on his way to winning the tournament, but has definitely not used that mentality lately. He recently played a tournament in Sioux Falls without a driver in the bag.
“You’re going to make money by not making mistakes, not making the most birdies,” he said.
While the reigning champion will likely give most of his advice to Welle while caddying, he has plenty to offer for anyone chasing the trophy this summer.
“Just be confident,” he said. “It sounds cliche, but you can almost sense when someone knows they’re going to play well versus when they’re playing tense. I played with a kid during stroke play who could play with me, he was an awesome player, but I could hear it in his voice that he lacked a little confidence. Just be confident and play to win. When I was up there the first time I was just trying to make the cut and I barely made it. I didn’t really have that mindset. I went up there with one thing on my mind last year and that’s all I wanted to do; anything short of that, I wasn’t going to be happy. Set your expectations high because someone has got to win. You might as well just do it.”