CRESTVIEW — Returning to Crestview meant sacrificing bigger paychecks, but a local golfer said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brandon Martin is the new general manager and golf professional at Foxwood Country Club. After spending several years outside Crestview, he returned in April 2014 and began working at Foxwood at the club’s bar and pro shop.
Eventually, Martin started giving lessons and accepted more responsibilities over time, he said. Now, he’s running the course.
But let’s rewind.
Martin began playing golf at 12 years old in the sixth grade. He played at Crestview High School, along with other sports, but quit sports in college. Originally studying to be a meteorologist, Martin realized he “needed something competitive to do.”
“It got to where I realized I didn’t like calculus,” Martin said with a laugh. “I like normal math, but once you start adding the alphabet, it’s a little bit too much.”
Martin enrolled in the Golf Academy of America in Orlando after a recommendation from a friend. The academy is a business school focused on the golf industry. Martin trained at the academy and received an associate degree in golf complex and operations management in 2010, along with a teaching certificate.
In the time following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Martin couldn’t find a job in the Panhandle area. Having extended family in Washington, he left Florida to work at a golf club in the northwest.
“I found out in my career that I would rather have my friends and family than an enormous paycheck,” Martin said.
So, he left his job in Washington after four years and returned to Crestview.
Foxwood was a natural fit for Martin. He worked at the club when he was in high school as a cart boy and said some of the members from that time still play at the course. Martin believes this adds to the area’s family feel.
A family-oriented environment is one of Martin’s goals as he takes over leadership at Foxwood. He also wants to make the club, and golf in general, more accessible to a younger generation.
“It’s kind of like going to church; it gives you a backbone to live your life off of,” Martin said of playing golf. He believes the sport teaches young people values, etiquette and how to be a strong individual.
While some people may view golf as a difficult sport, Martin said this doesn’t have to be the case. Clubs are a one-time investment, unlike other sports, which require new equipment each year, and the more you play, the less it costs, he said.
Martin has focused on improving Foxwood’s course conditions and hopes continued improvements could build membership. Currently, the club has about 180 members.
As for Martin, he’s happy to be back with old friends and his immediate family.
Although he does miss the cool, Washington summers, he joked.
“As long as I can live a decent life, can pay my bills, be around friends and family — I’m happy," he said.