By Sue Wieger, LPGA. M.Ed
Toph Peterson loves golf and feels that it brings many different people together, that it’s a great game for everyone to enjoy. He now has two golf-related businesses that he believes will help promote and grow the game. But he didn’t grow up playing golf.
Growing up in Logan, Utah, Christopher Peterson’s father started calling him Toph and the nickname stuck. Toph played baseball and basketball most of his young life; golf wasn’t even on his radar until he was 14. He did have a fun golf experience as a young child—his Uncle Dave would let him ride in the golf cart and Toph liked to jump off and swing at golf balls quickly, like Happy Gilmore. His Uncle Dave always believed Toph was the golf prodigy of the family, always claiming that he would be the profes- sional in the family.
At first Toph thought the game was supposed to be played quickly. When it was later explained to him it wasn’t a fast-hitting game, he decided to stick with base- ball and basketball. But that same year his two best friends asked him to play golf over the summer and he decided to join them.
His athletic ability in golf showed up very quickly— he played pretty well at first. And once he started to keep
score, his competitive drive kicked in after shooting over 100 for 18 holes. He fell in love with the game and never looked back. Wanting to make his high school’s freshman golf team, he asked his father to join the country club so he could concentrate on his golf. Despite his enthusiasm, he didn’t make the high school team that year.
Disappointed but determined, he decided to make the team the following year and his drive and commitment earned him a place on the sophomore team. It also helped make him team captain in his junior and senior years.
To this day Toph loves basketball and baseball, but golf became his passion and he went on to Utah State to play collegiate golf.
After graduating, Toph moved to Arizona to pursue his dream of professional golf. But as resources started to run out, he decided to put his entrepreneurial skills to work and begin two golf startup companies. As his startup busi- nesses took off, he hadn’t much time to play golf. A year ago his buddies told him should consider trying out for The Golf Channel’s “Big Break” reality show.
Although initially hesitant, he decided to give it a shot since he felt his game wasn’t up to par. The tryouts were in Phoenix and he decided to try out as one of their golfer contestants. During the tryout he only hit six shots and had a 15-minute interview. But he impressed the Big Break recruiters enough to receive a call to be on the show the next week, and eventually he wound up being one of the exclusive participants at the Big Break event played in Myr- tle Beach, South Carolina.
While Toph didn’t win the Big Break, he’s classified the show as a great experience and a lot of fun. After that expe- rience he changed his goals to gain entry into the Web.com Tour and the PGA tour. He knows the road might be hard but he’s determined to take his game to the next level.
Feeling the world is starting to change its combined mindset to one of equality, Toph considers himself an LGBT ally. He feels golf is a game that everyone should be able to play and enjoy. Sports diversity, he believes, is headed into the right direction and the gay community is getting help with exposure through mainstream sports such as the NFL and the NBA. “We are all unique and we should be able to play the games we love, no matter who we love.” Have fun and go compete is Toph’s philosophy.