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Ryan Tripp: It’s never too late to start

 

By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern

 

Have you ever had an itch? I’m talking about an itch that won’t go away no matter how hard you try. It could be from a mosquito bite or your skin in the final repairing stages of a sunburn. Whatever it is, don’t you try everything you possibly can to get rid of it?

Well, have you ever been bitten by the golf bug? Man, does it produce a nasty itch. For those of you who have, you can testify that it makes one go berserk when it comes to golf and everything about it. It drives us to buying the newest and coolest clubs on the market. Hours are spent glued to the television because of it – watching as the Golf Channel shows Brooks Koepka’s 12-inch divot take off after impact in slow motion. It even drives us to the No. 1 tee before the first rays of sunlight become visible.

A bit of an insane lifestyle, right? Never really seeking for a permanent cure. Well, if you ask Ryan Tripp – our next, lucky spotlight contestant – that question, he’d be sure to tell you he’d have it no other way.

Tripp stated, “As people say they got bit by the golf bug, I definitely did.”

Golf was never really a part of Tripp’s life until the last five or six years. Sure, he had the occasional trip growing up from Parowan with his buddies down to Cedar City to whack a few balls at the driving range, but it wasn’t something you would define as golfing.

“We probably spent most of our time doing Happy Gilmores,” Tripp said.

All Tripp cared about in Parowan – his hometown – was basketball. In fact, shooting hoops was the sport within his childhood home. Tripp stuck to the hardwood through his first year of college where he played as a freshman at Southern Virginia University before going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Anaheim, California.

“Always grew up being active, playing sports,” Tripp said. “Basketball primarily. [I] played a little baseball [and] ran cross-country in high school. So, I was always active and just enjoyed being out and about …”

Upon returning home from his mission, Tripp transferred universities and attended the University of Utah where he earned a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication and his MBA from Weber State University.

However, Tripp’s childhood wasn’t defined by basketball but by a desire to help raise the funds necessary to save the life of little Whitnie Pender – a baby girl from a neighboring town who was in desperate need of a liver transplant.

With the motivation to raise as much funds as he could, 14-year-old Tripp set out for the 3,116-mile trip across America. The catch, however, was Tripp had to make the journey across the country traveling at 10 mph on a lawn mower – hoping to set a new mark in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for the farthest distance traveled on a lawn mower.

Tripp’s grandparents and father accompanied the soon-to-be world record holder on his journey – making the 42-day journey to cut the lawn at Capitol Hill in Washington D. C. – raising a total donation sum of $15,000. Tripp got to talk about his story to countless news outlets, including shows hosted by individuals such as David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. (Tripp also broke another world record just a short time later by mowing every state capital’s lawn in a total of 69 days.)

“Aside from the Guinness World Record on a lawn mower, my upbringing and my childhood was pretty normal, I guess,” Tripp said with a chuckle.

Now working for Ride Systems as the Marketing and Sales Director and as an adjunct professor at WSU, Tripp maintains a busy schedule with work and home life – having four children of his own with his wife, Shannon.

Yet, among such a schedule, Tripp scratches the golfing itch in whatever way he can – possibly trying to play some sort of catch-up game for all the years he thinks he has missed out on.

Golf didn’t become a passion of his until he started playing in work tournaments. After having the time of his life at his first scramble, life was never the same. (His wife would probably say the same thing.) For him, ever since his first round, golf has become his happy place: spiritually, physically and mentally.

“Once I got into a professional career and I started working in healthcare, we would have a couple work scrambles throughout the summer and I got invited to participate in those,” Tripp said. “That is when I saw how fun golf can be and started getting serious about it. Honestly, from the first time I played in a work tournament, I had a blast.”

Tripp, you could say, would be the golf equipment connoisseur of Utah. Not discrediting anyone who knows a lot about golf equipment, but Tripp’s guilty pleasure might be his obsession with finding out as much as he can about products and then finding the right stuff for him. I’d even go as far as calling him the Bryson DeChambeau of club combos. (Check out his What’s in the Bag? graphic on our Instagram page if you want to see what I mean.)

Tripp said: “I go nuts over golf equipment. It is horrible for my game because I am constantly switching out equipment.”

When he isn’t playing Round Valley Golf Course or submersed in the latest Golf Digest’s Hot List issue, Tripp can often be found making drone videos over courses he’s played – like Sand Hollow Resort or Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas – or attempting to play four 18-hole rounds at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the day of summer solstice.

For someone who would still be called newish to the game, Tripp’s adventurous journey doesn’t stop there. Tripp and his buddy, Andy Lawson, are two-time winners of the Topgolf Tour Championship Qualifier in Salt Lake City (2016 & 2018), which advanced the duo to compete in Las Vegas for a $50,000 grand prize – eventually losing to former tour professionals and lower-handicap players.

“That was really my first kind of big golf accomplishment,” Tripp said.

Tripp recalls when he didn’t make it in 2017, and the desperation road trip he and Lawson endeavored on in attempt to make it back to Vegas. After losing a close match in Salt Lake, the two immediately drove to Portland for a qualifier the next day. Losing there, the two then headed east to Denver with hopes of success on their third attempt. With no such luck, the two journeymen started gaining recognition and were flown out by Travelocity for one final attempt in Austin to qualify. No success.

Though golf has primarily been Tripp’s thing, he still holds out for the future with hope that his children will want to play the game he has come to love. Now and again, Tripp will bring his children to the course – Morgan is a small town and Round Valley is never extremely busy – while his wife is working.

Because he didn’t have the chance of playing a lot of golf with his dad growing up, Tripp wants to provide that opportunity for his kids. Yet, if they don’t choose golf, basketball will still be a viable option for them – Shannon Tripp played collegiate basketball, too.

Outside of spending time at the course, Tripp enjoys any and all chances he to be with his family. He spends time at gymnastic meets, ballet recitals, etc. You name it, his kids are probably doing it.

Ryan, thank you for demonstrating that golf is for anyone in any stage of life, and that it can be and mean whatever we would like it to be.