EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 9, 2013

Lawrence's Santacroce living the golf dream

By Michael Muldoon

---- — Tyler Santacroce has been preparing himself for Penn State’s 46-hour January dance marathon, which annually raises $10.5 million for pediatric cancer research.

That will be good practice for his future as a golf professional.

“There is no 40-hour-a-week job in the golf industry,” he said. “It’s 50-70 hours a week. If there is a PGA Tour event, it could be 80-90 hours.”

But those Belichickian hours are just fine with Santacroce. The former Lawrence High golf and volleyball captain just landed a plum job as one of four assistant professionals at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. He’ll begin there after he graduates from Penn State in the spring.

“I’m extremely excited,” said the 6-foot-5 Santacroce, who helped Lawrence High restart its golf program after nearly 20 years without one. “The course is as good as any in the country.”

The members include past and present Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark and Jeff Saturday as well as Colts owner Jim Irsay. The Web site golf-courses.findthebest.com ranks Crooked Stick the 269th best course in the world.

It has hosted PGA Championships, U.S. Women’s Opens and Solheim Cups.

Santacroce got his foot in the door in a previous internship at Crooked Stick and has built an impressive resume with internships at Pebble Beach, where Lawrence native Bill Perocchi is the CEO, and The Country Club in Brookline.

He also has worked at the Masters and will be in Augusta again this April. He’ll be working for 10 days at the practice facility.

“To work there (Augusta) speaks for itself,” he said.

Penn State’s PGA golf management program is one of the country’s best. Santacroce said the connections and opportunities from that have been invaluable.

Indeed, the head pros at Crooked Stick and Augusta are both Penn State alums.

“It all starts with the Penn State network and alumni,” he said. “We’re urged to treat internships like fulltime jobs or three-month interviews. That’s how I treated it.”

At Crooked Stick, he’ll be co-director of the Junior Golf program as well as teaching and working in merchandising.

That will be a 7-8 month job and then he’ll head South for employment in the winter months.

Among the highlights from an unforgettable last few years was spring break 2012 in Scotland.

“We went to St. Andrews (home of the British Open),” he said. “It was myself with 25 students. Leading up to the trip we learned the history of the club and the game and how it translated to America.”

There is still a bit of awe in his voice as he discusses his golf journey.

“To be a 19-year-old kid at Pebble Beach knocks you back a step or two,” he said. “The Masters you see on TV and you’re there. I can’t really believe it. There is a little kid aspect to it.”

Always a good student, Santacroce has a 3.1 GPA but says the main thing has always been the internships and the outside the classroom activities.

“They ask for the resume more than the transcript,” said the Lawrence High and St. Patrick’s School alum. “It’s more who you worked for than how you did in American Literature!”

Santacroce, 22, obviously has the respect of his peers. He was elected president of Penn State’s 141-member golf program.

Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.

Garrison Gang

Lawrence’s Tyler Santacroce said his road to being a PGA pro began as a middle schooler at Murphy’s Garrison Par 3 Golf Center in Haverhill.

“I will be leaning on my experiences with the Murphys heavily,” said Santacroce of his new job at Crooked Stick Golf Club. “It’s all due pretty much to the relationship with the Murphys, Ted and Mary, and their son Kevin. Also, Marc Spencer who is at Windham Country Club.”