Brian Leonard is an industrial tech teacher and the boy’s and glrl’s golf coach at Nevada High School in Nevada, MO. Brian is one of those great people who attacks life every day and is passionate about whatever he does—whether it’s teaching school, coaching or playing golf, or staying active in his community.
This fall Brian has the good fortune to record a hole in one that we found out about. This ace was a bit more special and unique than most, for it came during a practice round he was playing with his girls team. Talk about setting a good example for the team!
Brian recently took some time to answer a few of our Weekly Golfer questions:
When did you start playing golf and was there someone who was influencial as you got you started?
I didn’t start playing golf until college. I went to Southwest Missouri State U.—now known as Missouri State. I needed a PE credit and thought I would try golf. My roommate loaned me a set of clubs…and before you know it I was hooked. Caught “golf fever,” I guess, and it’s stayed with me all these years.
I continued to play through the 80s and then began to work at our municipal course in Nevada. I even had the chance to help the Schmidts from Carl Junction (they used to own Briarbrook CC) build the new back nine at Frank E. Peters Golf Course in Nevada.
No one person helped me get started, but I must acknowledge the Peters Men’s League for giving me many exciting and fun evenings every Thursday during the season.
What’s your favorite course to play?
As a high school golf coach I’ve been lucky enough to be able play a bunch of great courses throughout the state. Several of my favorites are Crestwood CC in Pittsburg, KS, Payne Stewart Course in Branson, Silo Ridge in Bolivar, Swope Memorial in Kansas City, Rivercut in Springfield, and my hometown favorite, the Frank Peters Municipal in Nevada.
What ‘bugs’ you about the golf experience that you think we can and should change?
I have two items—bad behavior on the course and slow play.
Bad behavior on the course is one of my pet peeves. I know anger and frustration is natural in humans and seems to emerge more on the golf course than other places. But being able to control your anger is an important characteristic that I think is disappearing in our society. I think control is of utmost importance for our younger golfers, and I certainly work hard with our teams to preach and coach discipline and control. One of my favorite quotes about anger on the golf course comes from Joplin Globe writer Clair Goodwin. “Don’t get mad…GET BETTER!”
As for slow play, I think if EVERYONE were mindful of others we’d have less of it because people would be more aware. Many of us don’t like to lose—at anything—and I think we often slow down when we’re really trying not to lose, when the pressure is on. But again, if we simply go by the Golden Rule and treat others as we would like to be treated, a lot of slow and inconsiderate play on the course would no longer be an issue.
Brian has signed all of his emails to me with a Ben Hogan quotation I really like:
“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”