Chehalis Native Brady Calkins Has Successful Summer on The Dakotas Tour
By Matt Baide
Summer is a time to get outside and have fun, whether that fun is on a beach or on a golf course. For Brady Calkins, it was all business, but on the golf course.
Calkins spent his summer playing on The Dakotas Tour, a golfing tour for amateurs and professionals throughout the Midwest that provides a professional golfing experience over nine weeks, starting in late June and ending on Labor Day.
After playing in 12 tournaments, Calkins ended the tour as the points leader with 2,600.75 and as the money leader, with prize money totaling $74,585.67.
“I played great all summer, got three wins late in the year. Two of the wins were the two biggest events on the tour,” Calkins said. “I kind of ran ran away with the points and money leader by quite a bit. It was super fun, best summer to date.”
In the 12 events, Calkins made the cut in all 12 events and never finished lower than 22nd place. He had a car and drove to all the tournaments by himself.
“I drove everywhere on my own. It was a lot, it was just so much, you never really have a chance to catch your breath at all, ever,” Calkins said. “There was a stretch where we played 13 tournament rounds in 14 days or something. That’s an absurd amount of golf.”
There were times where all the traveling by himself became lonely, even with constant contact with friends and family.
“Just the traveling aspect and everything, like just being all by myself on the road and going from state to state, hotel to hotel every single night, just being alone and being kind of lonely,” Calkins said.
Calkins played well the first six weeks, never finishing outside of 14th place.
He won three tournaments during the summer and finally broke through with his first win at Worthington Country Club in Worthington, Minn., shooting an opening round 63 (-8) on his way to a three round total of 14-under par.
Calkins tied the course record with his 63, but felt like he could have set the course record.
“To get the monkey off my back, the three wins on the Dakotas felt good because I was beating good players and beating them by a lot,” Calkins said. “I feel like I solidified my spot up top definitely. The 63 was actually extremely frustrating because I was 9-under through 11 holes and just couldn’t make another birdie and the course record out there is 63 and I already had that after 11 holes. I had some Par 5’s, just couldn’t do it but still won the golf tournament.”
Two weeks later, he won his next event in early August at Hillcrest Golf & Country Club in Yankton, S.D. Calkins shot a 64 (-8) in the second round for a four round total of 21-under par. He won his third event in the second to last tournament of the tour, winning at Vardon Golf Club in Minot, N.D. He carded a 62 (-10) in the first round and shot a three day total of 30-under par to claim the title.
“That one was awesome because I had my dad there and my cousin Joe (Blaser) on the bag and we kicked a**. There was nobody that was going to touch us out there,” Calkins said. “Winning golf tournaments is not easy at all. To win three of them in four weeks was nice.”
Even though it was sometimes lonely on the tour, Calkins enjoyed the Midwest.
“I loved it. I love it over there, I could even see myself living over there maybe someday in the far future,” Calkins said. “The people were great, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I’ll be back there every summer as long as I don’t have status anywhere else.”
Calkins is back in Chehalis for now and will head off to Q-school in Canada or Latin America depending on his money situation. Overall, he made about $110,000 on the golf course this year.
He’ll be heading to California before November to start preparing for Q-school.
Calkins wanted to thank everyone who sponsored him and supported him during his time on The Dakotas Tour this summer and wants them all to know this is just the beginning.
“I’ve got a people sponsoring me. I do want to thank them,” Calkins said. “I just want to say this only the beginning of my career, I can assure that.”