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Pennsylvania golf pro survives major car crash, makes PGA Championship

Four years after surviving a major car crash that required nearly two years of rehab, a golf instructor will compete against the best in the world.
Pennsylvania golf pro survives major car crash, makes PGA Championship
Posted at 9:22 AM, May 18, 2023

Braden Shattuck is a golf pro, earning his living by providing golf lessons at a Springfield, Pennsylvania, golf club. 

This weekend, he’ll be surrounded by the top golfers in the world vying for one of golf’s four most prestigious titles. 

Shattuck qualified for this year’s PGA Championship by winning the 2023 PGA Professional Championship. The tournament is intended for golfers like Shattuck who work as pros at local golf courses. The tournament earmarks 20 spots annually for golfers like Shattuck. They are among 28,000 golfers who are members of the PGA — a separate organization from the PGA Tour.

Shattuck, who is participating in his first major championship, survived a serious car crash in 2019. He said he spent 18-24 months going through physical therapy. 

“I'd say it was probably almost the full two years before I was able to play nine holes, and even once I was back, I wasn't able to practice,” he said. “I couldn't do a full range session. I could maybe go hit balls for five minutes. I would always have to take a cart. Walking was a little tough. Even now walking is still a little tough on my body.”

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Shattuck said he’s fortunate to be able to golf again, and is “playing on house money.” He was unsure after the accident whether he would ever be able to golf again.

Although Shattuck might not have the resume of some of the golfers he’ll be playing with, he still has an impressive background in the sport. He played golf at the University of Delaware and has won a number of tournaments among PGA club professionals. 

Spending two years away from the game was just as rough mentally for Shattuck as it was physically. 

“As you can imagine, it was tough because golf was pretty much everything and my main outlet. You have to mentally get over that hurdle, which was the hardest thing,” he said. “Physically you can't even play golf, and mentally it's tough because now what else do you do with your time?”

Shattuck earned his spot in the PGA Championship by shooting 9 under during a four-round tournament in New Mexico April 30 through May 3. 

But as soon as the tournament was over, he had to get back to work. 

“I got off the plane Thursday night from New Mexico, and first thing Friday morning I was on the range teaching again all day. Saturday same thing, teaching for 11 hours,” he said. “I've got a busy schedule, five, six days a week, teaching the juniors, ladies and all of the above. I work a full-time job, so it's tough to compete against guys who play this game for a full-time job.”

His rounds on Thursday and Friday will dictate whether he makes the cut to play this weekend. He doesn’t  expect to win the event, but he believes he can make the cut. 

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