Story by Ian Guerin
LONGS, S.C. | Corey Bowers was a standout athlete. High-school state champion. Two-time junior college All-American. NCAA Division-II All-American. Then he launched his coaching career as a graduate assistant. He saw himself coaching for a long, long time. But not on the golf course – the wrestling mat. Now, 14 years after starting to play casually for the first time and only a few removed from being asked to start the collegiate program at Mercyhurst North East in Pennsylvania, Bowers is drawing between the two sports on a daily basis in his role as the Head Golf Professional and General Manager at Aberdeen Country Club and Long Bay Golf Club.
“There’s a lot of similarities between golf and wrestling,” Bowers said. “It’s an individual sport. They’re mentally draining. As we all know in golf, you can get frustrated easily. You have to be pretty strong mentally. I just loved the game from day one.” That didn’t happen for him until he was 18 and rooming with a college golfer at Mercyhurst, a two-year school northeast of Erie. He latched on to the game, enough so that after transferring to Gannon University to the southwest, he even earned a spot on the golf team despite his wrestling billing. The dual effort paid dividends; in 2009-2010, he was named the top male athlete at Gannon after finishing sixth nationally in wrestling as a senior and routinely competing for the men’s golf team in various events. He began coaching wrestling before being asked by the athletics director back at Mercyhurst to start a golf program. It changed his career dynamic for good.
Within three years, he was in Myrtle Beach, working as a first assistant. From there, it was on to Founders Club, then World Tour International Golf Links and then his current position, which he started in February of 2018. It was the most golf responsibility he had been given to date, and again, he went back to some of the same mentality that helped him on the mat, but also while earning a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration. “Wrestling’s just one of those sports, you [have to] keep your composure and stay focused all the time,” Bowers said. “There is the drive to be the best. It’s a sport that demands so much of you individually, but you’re also relying on your team to carry that workload so you can be a strong as a unit as you can be. It’s no difference in business. If I let off my guard a little bit, it’s a kink in the chain.”
Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer based in Myrtle Beach. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin and Facebook facebook.com/IanGuerinWriter/