I have been very fortunate in my life. The path to where I am today has been a winding, challenging, fulfilling one.
I grew up in a stable, supportive family who created a solid emotional base for me to approach the world in a positive, proactive way. Growing up at a private golf club is not a bad way to spend your early years – especially if you love golf and have access to play anytime you want. My father, Peter Haime, was the Golf Professional at the club, helping me to shape my golf game and give me access to a fundamental way of playing. My mother Dawn worked at the club and was always available for moral support. I played many sports, but the eventual shift to focusing on golf was natural. By the time I was 17, I was regularly winning youth events and building a reputation as a national player. My dream from an early age was to play NCAA athletics – and I reached that dream accepting a full athletic scholarship to Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. It was a very exciting time.
I went into college as a leading junior and amateur golfer and loving the game and left college disappointed and not as far ahead as I wanted to be in my athlete development. I had some nice early successes in college climbing up to the top of the Big Ten Conference in my freshman year. For several reasons, my golf game eroded and I stagnated in college, beginning the experience a confident, optimistic athlete and leaving with a lower level of confidence and a feeling I had made marginal progress over a four year period. Although I did not experience consistent development in college, Professional Golf was a dream and a next step – something I felt like I had to do – to honor my talent and see if I could find the spark … and enjoy playing again.
It was a fast start in professional golf finishing as medallist in the player’s tour school to gain a playing card around the world. I started in Australia, shifted to South Africa, returning to Canada and the United States to play in events, shifting to Asia and continued that pattern for about six years. There were successes and tournament wins, but too many disappointments and frustrations. Running out of finances and out of patience, in my final year in professional golf, I failed to qualify to gain a card for the U.S. PGA Tour School. In my final round in professional golf, I played with Todd Hamilton from Illinois who ironically went on to win the British Open Championship several years later. Sadly, my golf career was over – as was a large piece of what I did since I was 10 years old – competing and trying to improve in a competitive environment.
While there were successes in the game, playing with the best golfers on the planet and competing at the highest levels, in reflection – the access and exposure to the world was by far the biggest benefit of my golf career. Traveling through Asia and Africa as a young person caused a major shift in my perspective of the world understanding that someone in a position of privilege like me must work toward helping others and lifting them up. This calling would become my eventual focus.
The shift to the “real” world from professional sports was a difficult one. “What the heck do I do now” and “how does a golfer dramatically shift focus and do something else” were re-occurring questions I asked myself – for several unproductive years!! I moved from traveling and competing around the world in t-shirts and shorts with a flexible schedule to an inflexible office environment wearing a suit and tie. There was a lot of soul searching and questioning during this time.