Living the good life
Even when he was chasing the professional golf dream, Chris Stutts was doing more than just preparing for his next shot, his next round, his next tournament.
Stutts, a Leoma, Tennessee native, was preparing for life after golf, as well.
Some 15 years later and now living in Maui, Hawaii where he is the vice president of sales at the Makena Golf and Beach Club, Stutts has no regrets that his professional golf career didn't rise to a higher level.
"When you are in the middle of your nike free run career on Tour, you don't think it will ever be any different," he said recently during a phone interview where he was playing in the Pine Valley member guest tournament. "Right or wrong, I was always concerned what I was going to do when I turned 40 and I haven't made it on the PGA Tour. nike jerseys I looked at it like I better have a plan B."
That plan B included founding the Gateway Tour before eventually landing with the Discovery Land Company. It's that job that has enabled Stutts to live in places like the Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and now Hawaii.
"When I was growing up, it was a treat to get to go to the beach in Panama City (Florida)," Stutts said, chuckling. "I never thought I would even get to visit some of those places. In all, he banked $52,476, not including his earnings from various mini tour events. Most of his starts came in 1998 (26 events) and 2000 (22 events).
Stutts decided to take his career another route after missing the final stage of the PGA Tour's qualifying school by one shot in 2000.
"I was paired with another guy who just made (the cut), and I was telling him that I wanted to start a mini tour out West," Stutts recalled. "He told me he was going to give it another year or two."
Stutts' playing partner that day was Zach Johnson, who now has a Masters championship and Open championship on his resume and is one of the most recognizable faces on tour.
Stutts founded the Gateway Tour in 2001 and eventually built it into a 60 tournament, 500 member entity. From there, he moved into real estate and latched on with Discovery Land Company. That's when his tropical odyssey began.
And he credits golf with making it happen.
"Golf teaches you stuff that is hard to learn in the classroom," said Stutts, who played collegiately at East Tennessee State and Arizona State. "You learn to adapt to different environments from minute to minute. It taught me the ability to interact with people and get comfortable with them. Playing golf was a great opportunity to meet successful people from all over the country who would take time out of their schedule to play golf. The game allowed me to travel and it created job opportunities to meet some incredible people from all over the world."
Stutts, who married Kristan Story of Lawrenceburg seven years ago, still plays pretty well.
"I try to play about once a week," he said. "I turn in all my scores, and I think I am a plus 1 (handicap). But it's definitely harder than it used to be."
Stutts said he was fortunate to be able to have jobs in the golf industry.
"It's fun for me to still be involved and be around my friends," he said. "I've always loved golf, but I love it more each time I play it. Working for Discovery Land Company has been a dream come true. I've been lucky to be around some of the greatest golf courses and clubs in the world."
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