DOVER, Del. – Dirt racing has been called Kyle Larson’s “golf game”—a passionate pursuit away from the high visibility of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing.
Recently, though, Larson’s “golf game” has been his actual golf game, with his competitive instincts inspiring an avid interest in the sport.
On Wednesday at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., Larson competed in his first PGA Tour pro-am, partnered with pro Russell Henley and two other amateurs, and the experience was a revelation to the pole winner for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“I was extremely nervous,” Larson said on Friday after putting his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet on the pole. “Way more nervous than I can remember being for anything else. I mean five days before the event, every time I thought about it I would get my heart rate up. I was super nervous on the first tee box and was able to hit it right down the fairway.
“So after that I calmed down quite a bit and actually hit the ball really good for me. I’m like an 18 handicap, so I hit the ball really good. I didn’t put very well, so I shot a 91, so that was just a stroke or two off my handicap. I was happy with it and definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”
Though he has taken up golf only recently, Larson is driven to get better at the game.
“As each week passes by I become more obsessed with it,” Larson said. “You go in my motorhome or at home, and my TV is always set on the golf channel. I golf probably two or three times a week now. Just trying to get better.
“I’ve only been playing for about two years, and it’s not any fun being the worst one out of the group of friends you play with. The last six months or so I’ve gotten better than some people that we play with, which is nice. I still have a lot of room to improve and I feel like I’m improving. Just got to keep working at it.”