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All in the Family

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Editor's note: GolfChannel.com will be following four mini-tour players – Tim Hegarty, Zack Sucher, Benoit Beisser and Jack Newman – over the course of 2011 in our new feature, 'The Minors.' Check in each week for the players' progress, updates, photos and more.

Family. It’s important to a lot of people. It’s everything to Benoit Beisser.

So much so that no matter what he does in life, his sister, dad and mom will be the center of it. Beisser's family-operated golf career is proof of that.

Sister Laura is one of his best friends and a sounding board for everything golf. Dad Nick is the only swing coach he's ever had. And, mom Deanna? She's caddied for him in every big event since he was a kid.

It's already been established Beisser’s his own man.

Behind that man is a support network that transcends the teams of coaches and trainers many touring professionals employ in their stable these days.

Our colorful 'Minors' subject wouldn’t have it any other way.

Benoit Beisser and his sister Laura London
Benoit and Laura at one of Laura's golf tournaments.

“Since junior golf there have always been people telling me how I would be better if I only did . . . fill in the blank,” Beisser chuckles. “What most people don’t realize is that my opinion is all I care about when it comes to my golf.

“Back then the main critique was my golf coach, who was, and still is, my father . . . My dad didn’t grow up playing golf himself but he taught himself to a four handicap. He taught my mom to a club championship and he taught my sister and I to Arizona state championships. That's not too bad in my opinion.

“Still, people today tell me that a high-profile coach will get me to the PGA Tour. But there’s only one person that I trust with my golf swing, and that’s my dad. That’s all it will ever be.”

It's hard to deny Beisser's conviction.

It’s like a badge of honor he and his family wear that they do things their own way – 'the Beisser way.'

Part of that is having his mom by his side when he plays.

“My mom caddies for me because she believes in me and she wants me to succeed,” Beisser explains. “A lot of people think having her on the bag is what's holding me back, but what they don’t realize is that she’s helping me become great. She keeps me in a positive mind-frame and she knows my professional game.

“She’s been on my bag for every Q-School I’ve been to and was my caddie for both PGA Tour events I qualified for.

'I love the fact that I can share those memories with her.”

Like her son, Deanna Beisser is interesting in her own right. 

A world renown writer of inspirational books for the Blue Mountain Arts publishing company, Deanna’s written over half a dozen books, with her most famous, 'Is it Time to Make a Change?,' gaining such popularity it was turned into a paperback and is in many schools and libraries.

It even found its way to China, becoming one of the country's best selling books.

Benoit often takes a quote his mom gives him for the week to focus on for a positive vibe.

“Pretty cool, huh?” he says with a laugh.

About as cool as what he did for his sister three years ago.

Laura was playing on the Arizona-based Cactus Tour in 2008 when she asked little brother – who was having an 'epic' year on the Gateway Pro Tour – if he would help sponsor the event because the tour was having trouble finding enough money for the purse.

He agreed . . . under one condition.

Benoit Beisser at the Epic Open

'Only if I got to name the tournament,' tells Beisser. 'And they loved it. We named it 'Benoit's Epic Open.''

'I was having a good year and I know Laura would've done the same for me if I had asked . . . It was kind of a cool deal; we got them hats and everything.'

Laura finished second in her brother's event and has seen some success in the game since, but she recently retired from her professional golf career to start up her own business doing personal assistant work.

She still serves as Benoit’s personal confidant.

“She helps me with everything,” says Beisser. “She’s still very much connected to the golf world and it’s great to have her there for me.”

It's easy to see Beisser thrives in a modern family. The admiration he holds for Nick, Deanna and Laura gives the impression the four are best friends – not the typical nuclear family, if there is such a thing anymore.

'Some people can't wait for the day they turn 18 to get away from their family, but I'm not one of those people,' he notes. 'My family is my team. I want them to be there every step of the way.'

Maybe knowing his family has his back is why he's always positive when discussing his game.

Considering how's he's playing, though, the easy-going 29-year-old has good reason.

Beisser opened last week's Gateway Pro Tour event in Phoenix with a pedestrian even-par 72. But he blistered the event home with closing rounds of 64-69 to finish third, earned $7,200 and moved to $31,687.50 on the year, which ranks sixth on the tour’s 2011 money list.

'It's pretty good right now,' Beisser says of his game.

'Just want to keep 'er going right now; see what I can do.'

He's confident, and he has every right to be, because what Beisser already has done is put himself in the black on the year, which isn’t easy to do on the Gateway Pro Tour – or any developmental tour.

Gateway Pro Tour
Sample 100-player purse
FinishMoney
1st$16,000
2nd$10,000
3rd$7,500
4th$5,800
5th$4,400
6th
$3,900
7th
$3,600
8th
$3,300
9th
$3,100
10th
$2,900
11th
$2,700
12th
$2,500
13th
$2,300
14th
$2,200
15th
$2,100
16th
$2,000
17th
$1,900
18th
$1,800
19th
$1,700
20th
$1,600
21st
$1,550
22nd
$1,500
23rd
$1,450
24th
$1,400
25th
$1,350
26th
$1,300
27th
$1,250
28th
$1,200
29th
$1,175
30th
$1,150
31st
$1,125
32nd
$1,100
33rd
$1,075
34th
$1,050
35th
$1,025

Consider the numbers.

A member who pays a $1,750 annual GPT membership fee, and then pays the full registration amount of $18,900 for all 18 events of the tour’s Arizona Series, has already spent over $20,000 before even teeing it up.

Factor that just 35 percent of any given field makes a check – a common percentage for many mini-tours –  and that the players on the GPT pay an average of $1,050 per event to play, and it's evident those guys better have paid homage to the golf gods that week just to make their money back.

Also, add in the economy and all the young, hungry, fearless players hitting the professional scene and it makes it all the more difficult just to break even.

The Gateway Pro Tour packs ‘em in, too.

It's one of the highest paying mini-tours in the country, its location is desirable and the tour plays decent golf courses.

Without delving into too much of the science behind it, given the model of nearly every mini-tour, it's difficult for the player to net much of anything.

Even Beisser's third place finish in a field of 114 players netted just over $6,000, considering the entry fee.

Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and David Toms all tied for third at Bay Hill last week and made $312,000. A solo third place finish would've even been more.

It's a tough sell, but mini-tours market themselves by claiming it’s all about gaining the ‘experience’ of competing against other aspiring professionals to learn the tools necessary to make it to the PGA Tour. Look at any pay-for-play website and it will say something to that effect.

The cold, hard truth is developmental golf is expensive, competitive and difficult at which to make a living.

But, Beisser has managed to net over $160,000 on the tour – after entry fees – since joining in 2007.

So our yoga-loving subject should be confident. And, in theory, on to bigger and better things.

Still, it's easy to think he's already living his dream – and has been doing such since he was a kid.

'I think it's just that being a pro kind of allows me to stay 16 years old forever,' Beisser surmises. 'People ask me what the best part of being a professional golfer is and I think that's it.

'It's not for the money or fame that's out there, which, sure, that's great. It's because I've wanted to do nothing else since back when I was a kid and our family would travel together to golf tournaments.

'I'm lucky for that. We always had a blast . . . I guess I just never want that to change.'

With his family by his side, it likely never will.