Kyle Larson has discovered a new passion—golf

DOVER, DE - MAY 05: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 5, 2018 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.