sports 4 days ago

Fredericksburg Country Club names Wagner new golf pro

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va. — Joey LoMonaco The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

March 14--Tim Wagner was sitting in a calculus class at a community college 15 years ago when epiphany struck: he'd much rather solve duck hooks than differential equations.

So the Venice, Fla., native packed his things and headed north at age 23 to take his first job as a golf instructor. Since then, Wagner's chosen career path has cut from the Hamptons to Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains with a few stops in between.

On Tuesday, he started as the new head professional at Fredericksburg Country Club.

Wagner replaces Carl Koons, who shifted into the club's general manager role after 28 years in the same position. While a national search for Koons' replacement turned up some impressive resumes, Wagner's rose to the top. He holds an advanced certification for Golf Operations from the PGA (a distinction achieved by only 4 percent of professionals), and U.S. Kids Golf named him a Top 50 youth instructor in 2016.

"In sports terminology, he's a five-star recruit or a first-round pick," said Koons, who plans to introduce Wagner to members at "Burger Night" on Wednesday. "There's just an incredible sense about him, golf etiquette, history, all the things you'd hope for."

Wagner, 37, learned of the opening through a colleague and had long sought the year-round appeal of a Mid-Atlantic golf club. He hopes to introduce more Fredericksburg-area families to golf. He and his wife Callie--high-school sweethearts who reconnected on Myspace--have two children: a daughter Romy, 3, and a baby boy named August.

In his 14 years of experience, Wagner said he's learned that no single approach or style will work with everyone. Instead, he prides himself on adapting to each golfer.

"If a guy's coming out and he's looking to break 80, his goals might be different than someone just starting to play the game," Wagner said. "Being able to migrate between each is student is very important."

Before moving to the instructional side of things, Wagner dabbled briefly as a player on the lower-tier Moonlight Tour.

"I think everyone that's in the business of golf professionally, at one point or another, had dreams of being on the PGA Tour," he said.

As an instructor, Wagner hasn't lost that romantic notion of golf.

"I know how great of a game it is," he said. "It can literally change lives, and that's the approach I take with it."

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