By Clifford Cowley
Name – Derek Barron
Occupation – Golf Professional/Golf Instructor-Tacoma Firs Golf Center
Location – Tacoma, WA
Pro Status – Currently inactive PGA apprentice, traveling the country gaining confidence, and playing pro events.
Derek Barron played baseball all his life and thought it would be his future. His step-dad played pro ball for 18 years. It was a perfect fit – until he started golfing. At the age of 17, he went out with his dad for a round at Fort Steilacoom. “I remember my first shot was pretty cool. From there forward, I became obsessed with the game,” he admits. “The desire for success and improvement is all I seem to care about when it comes to golf, and I’m pretty much willing to do what I have to, to win.
Derek has worked hard on his game ever since. He attributes his skill growth to one of his best friends and fellow golf instructor at Tacoma Firs Golf Center, Todd Erwin. “He’s the main reason I’m where I am today. He has mentored me since I started to get serious about golf,” says Derek. (Todd was recently named a top golf instructor in Washington by Golf Digest.) “I respect him very much,” adds Derek, “and feel lucky that he has given his time to help me progress as a golf professional and really learn the part.” Derek also cites Charlie Thurston and Greg Talley at Fircrest Golf Club. “They have really supported me through this current journey I’m on to see how far I can go with golf.”
There is something about Derek that makes him vulnerable to others wanting to help him succeed in golf. Maybe they see his work ethic and willingness to do “whatever it takes,” instilled by his parents. “My mom has always pushed me to keep going and never give in no matter how frustrated I was,” states Derek. Maybe it’s he doesn’t put on any airs of superiority and actually listens, appreciates the advice from others and acts on the advice he gets. And maybe, just maybe, it’s because he gives back. He helps other aspiring golfers with their game. (At the time of this writing, I called Fircrest to get some info on him and the person at the counter said he was out helping one of the top female players for Oregon State on her game.) He also does a ton of work in the local junior programs. “Juniors are the future of golf,” says Derek. “If I can help or inspire someone along the way as I travel my own journey in golf, I know it will help me as well,” he adds. And maybe that’s why his sponsor, Tim, decided to help Derek as well. “I can’t even begin to explain how much he has done for me in the last 10 months. For a guy, who doesn’t even know you personally, to finance you just to help you achieve your dreams or catch a break is so awesome. I don’t really know if there is any way to repay that kind of generosity and faith, but I’m doing my best in every way I can.”
“When I teach, I try to adapt to each individual because no one is the same. I have always wanted to be the kind of teacher who can find a solution for any swing, and not be a one-trick-pony like some I have seen. Honestly, that’s how I live my life and play golf. Things always pop up, and you have to be ready to adapt on the fly. If you get good at that, nothing is too big to get through.”
“I just like to make sure I’m not selling to just sell. I want people to get equipment because it helps them play better and enjoy the game more. When a person spends the kind of money it costs for quality clubs, they should be fitted properly. Selling clubs just to make a sale or earn a commission? I can’t do that with a clear conscience.”
Derek loves traveling with friends and competing against them in local tournaments, but this year, he is flying solo taking in a broader geographic schedule of tournaments. “Since I have been all over the place, it gets a little lonely, but it’s part of the chase and the journey so I deal with it,” he says just like a new tour pro learning as much about travel as much as playing on tour. “My life-long dream is really just to be successful, try and be the best, and a stand out in whatever I commit to. Right now, golf is what I am committed to.”
Derek has earned his way on to our leader board of golfers to watch.
Carry on, Derek.
What’s In Derek’s Bag?
Nike Vapor Flex Driver 8.5°
Nike 3wood vapor fly tour head 14°
Nike 2 iron vapor fly pro–yes, a 2 iron
Nike vapor pro irons 4-PW
Nike engage 50°, 54°, 58°
Ball Nike RZN black
“Currently testing with PXG and Callaway due to Nike’s recent news, but I’m in no hurry.”