Austin Rene works to get first top 10 finish on the Dakotas Tour
Rene first picked up a golf club when he was 4 or 5 years old.
JAMESTOWN — When he was a little kid, former Jamestown Jimmie and Blue Jay Austin Rene first picked up a golf club dreaming of one day making the PGA Tour. While he is not there yet, he is on the way currently preparing to start his third season on the Dakotas Tour and playing in qualifiers for PGA tour events.
Rene starts his third season at the Bakker Crossing Pro-Am on Friday, June 17, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“(The) expectations have kind of changed over the last couple years," Rene said. "It seems to always be make the cut, just trying to make a cut. But, that’s not why I’m out there. I played hockey growing up and you don’t go there to just compete, you go there to win. My goal ultimately is to win once if not multiple times on the Dakota Tour this summer and continue to grow and evolve my game with the best.”
In the previous two seasons, Rene has competed in 19 events with his best finish being a tie for 12th in the Bakker Crossing Pro-Am event in June 2021. Rene has missed the cut in 10 of those 19 events, which he said has helped him grow.
“It’s not getting down on yourself and continuing to battle,” Rene said. “You’ve played 36 holes, my game has gotten so much better over the last couple years. It’s gotten more distance, more distance. So, it’s more so just sticking to my game plan and trusting that I put in the work that I can make it happen if I just play my game.”
As he has grown up and gone from high school to college to the professional ranks, Rene said the way that he plays the game has changed.
“It used to just be, see how far I can hit it and go from there,” Rene said. “Now it’s strategy and learning that it’s not a perfect game. You’re never going to play a perfect round of golf, so playing the best you can with what you’ve got.”
Rene plays with his eyes toward the ultimate goal of the PGA Tour, as he looks to climb the ladder through the various different avenues available to get there. He said he plans to play in Monday qualifiers for the PGA Tour this summer. In the qualifiers, the top three finishers on the Monday before the official PGA Tour event qualify to play in that event.
As a result of the North Dakota winters, Rene has to go down to Chandler, Arizona, to train and continue to improve. Rene said he regularly spent 12 hours a day on the course working on the different facets of the sport. He added that he worked on his putting and tried to manufacture pressure as he was attempting the shot. After he finishes working on putting and driving he finishes the day with 18 holes of golf on the course.
“Most of the strokes in the game of golf come in the short game and that’s the first thing to leave a guy in the winter months for a Midwest golfer,” Rene said. “So being able to be in Arizona and work on my short game and work on my long game for 10 months of the year is huge because growing up playing high school and college golf you play in the summer and the fall and depending on what kind of winter we get, you take five months off. Then you just get thrown to the wolves and see how your game can compete after not working on anything all winter. I am grateful that I get to go down there and play and practice all winter long because it definitely has shown in my game that it has helped me tremendously.”