Just when we thought we had to rename TrackMan Open to “Who can beat Sebastian Cappelen?”, Brian Unk pocketed the title as the best shotmaker in September.
The three-time winner of the Canadian PGA Tour chose to become a full-time junior golf instructor five years ago, but Brian has undoubtedly kept his competitive gene intact.
With a daily agenda full of golf and life lessons (Brian has three kids), the 43-year old’s free time is particularly precious. To stay sharp and maximize his time, Brian uses his TrackMan 4 and its many practice features, here amongst also the Combine challenge.
Read more about the September TrackMan Open Champion here.
1. How old were you and where did you break par for 18 holes for the first time?
I broke par for the 1st time when I was 15 yrs old. I shot 69 at Fairlawn CC in Akron OH. I was playing with a couple of friends in the caddy tournament.
2. Best shot of your career? (club, hole, course, year)
My best shot was probably a 2 iron over water on the 1st playoff hole (#18, par 5 at Eagle Creek CC in Ottawa, ON Canada) to win my 1st PGA Tour Canada event. I remember being very nervous but somehow hit it well and made birdie to win.
3. What is your best Combine score ever?
My best combine score ever was this past month with a 91.8. My previous best was a 90.0.
4. Who’s your favorite golfer and why?
When I was growing up and getting into the game, I really liked Nick Faldo because of how reliable his swing was under pressure in the majors. Also Seve Ballesteros for his imagination and shot making.
5. Who would be in your dream four-ball?
My dream foursome would be Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and my Dad at either Augusta National or Pine Valley.
6. Do you use the TrackMan Combine regularly in your training sessions?
I do use the TrackMan combine regularly and also with students. It is a great way to take what you are working on in a lesson and apply those swing thoughts or feels into a competitive scenario. My junior golfers love competing against each other in the testing to see how they compare to one another and if they can beat their previous high score. When you are doing well in the Combine and possibly setting a personal best, you definitely feel some pressure!
7. How much do you practice yourself?
I don’t really have normal training days anymore since I don’t compete. I give lessons almost every day and enjoy helping my students reach their golf goals. I do try to hit some balls if I have a break between lessons at the driving range where I teach.
8. As a Tour player, who was on your team and who did you learn from?
I don’t have a team now, but when I played, my best caddy was my wife, Elizabeth, who caddied some for me on the Web.com tour. I have learned so much about putting from Mike Shannon, the mental game from Bob Rotella and Dr. Todd Kays, and the swing from Troy Wright, a great instructor here in Columbus OH. I am also TPI certified, so people like Jason Glass and Dave Phillips are great resources. All of these people have made me a better golfer and a more well-rounded instructor and coach.
9. What do you focus most on when working with your TrackMan and why (e.g., one specific data point, consistency, Optimizer feature, etc.)?
It depends on the student, but I almost always look at club path, club face and attack angle. I believe those relate most directly to what the ball is doing and how to fix where the ball is going. The other parameters are great for showing the student improvement in their game – clubhead speed, carry distance, height, launch angle, dynamic loft – Trackman is such a great tool for both teachers and their students.
10. Besides winning the TrackMan Open in July, what’s your highlight this season?
Winning the September TrackMan combine challenge is a great highlight for me and a surprise! I didn’t think it would hold up the entire month. I coach a high school golf team, St. Charles Prep in Columbus OH. I would say my highlight this season is just seeing my guys compete and play to their potential. I’m lucky to share my playing experiences with these great young men.
11. The one mulligan you’d like to have?
No mulligans for me…I’ve had my share of disappointment and close calls in golf, but I’m still very lucky to have played with support around me and now teach the game I love.
12. Most desired title to win?
While I still dream of playing in a US Open, I don’t really have a most desired title – I hope my students reach their golf potential and win titles.