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Christian Heavens

Age: 25

Current Residence: Orlando, Fla.

Hometown: East St. Louis, Ill.

Home Golf Course: Orange Tree Golf Club

College: Georgetown College

Profession: Professional Golfer

 

Career Highlights

-          Alumnus of The First Tee of Greater St. Louis

-          Represented The First Tee of St. Louis at the 2006 First Tee Open at Pebble Beach

-          Earned First Tee Scholars scholarship to Georgetown University in Kentucky

-          Competed in the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay

-          Turned professional in 2012, recorded first two victories on the Florida Professional Golf Tour in 2012

 

“Golf saved my life.”

Christian Heavens has been involved in golf his entire life.  His grandfather, who is his mentor, first put a plastic golf club in his hands as a baby.

“My grandfather has told me over the years that I was born to play golf,” said Heavens.  “He also told me over and over again that golf is a sport that is supposed to be fun.  I’ve taken that to heart over the years, which is why I love the game.”

Heavens grew up in Fairview Heights, Ill., a well-known rough suburb east of St. Louis.  Golf played a vital role in Heavens’ life growing up, as it allowed him to escape the daily pressures of the streets.  He avoided the temptations and stayed focused on his one true love, golf.

“Growing up in East St. Louis, the reputation is that most of us would be either dead or in jail by the age of 25,” said Heavens.  “I have friends and family members that are in jail, or that were killed.  The whole mindset of my city is negative and it hinders potential and growth.  But for some reason I have always been different.  I knew that I was going to be something and change lives.  I knew what was right from wrong.  I just wouldn’t let myself fall to the peer pressure.”

In high school, Heavens got involved in an organization that changed his life.  He was one of the founding members of The First Tee of The Gateway.

“The First Tee helped me become who I am today,” said Heavens. 

The First Tee’s mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

For Heavens, his experience was immeasurable.  He represented The First Tee of Greater St. Louis at the 2006 First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on the Champions Tour, one of 40 First Tee students to compete in the championship.

“Walking along with the Champions Tour players was one of the best experiences in my life,” said Heavens.  “All of us have a story, and it was awesome to be able share our stories on one of the greatest golf courses in the country.”

Heavens gave the opening speech at The First Tee Gala.  It was difficult for him to open up about his experiences, but it came with tremendous rewards.  That weekend, he was offered a First Tee Scholarship to Georgetown College in Kentucky.

“Telling my grandfather that I was going to college on a full scholarship was a highlight,” said Heavens.  “My grandfather always stressed education and wanted me to get a college degree.  Being able to use golf to get to college made my grandfather so proud.”

At Georgetown, Heavens earned Honorable Mention All-American honors in his junior year.  Admittedly, he feels he could have performed much better.  He didn’t put golf as a priority in college like he should have.   His senior year, with his results slipping, he re-dedicated himself and qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay, where he regained his passion for the sport.

“At Chambers Bay, I told myself that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” said Heavens.  “Plan A after graduation is to play golf and make it to the PGA TOUR.  Plan B…there is no Plan B.  That takes away from Plan A.”

Following graduation, Heavens turned professional and took to the mini tour circuit, experiencing moderate success with several top-5 finishes on the Florida Professional Golf Tour, including two victories in 2012.

However, with most mini tour professionals, money can be difficult to come by.  He told his mother that he would give his dream of playing professional golf everything he had and would play until he couldn’t afford to play anymore, and then would return home to Belleville.

Fast forward to early 2014.  Finances were becoming a huge burden.  His results on the golf course were not good and he was losing confidence.  His personal life was spinning out of control.  In March, he was driving to a tournament, about to spend the remaining money he had on an entry fee.  He knew his time was coming to an end.

It was on that drive that he received the phone call that he had been cast for Big Break Myrtle Beach.

“That phone call was one emotional conversation,” said Heavens.

The call could not have happened at a more opportune time.  Heavens made the cut in his tournament following the phone call.  He knew that he had something to play for: his future. 

“If anyone is ready for a Big Break, it’s me.”