When you read The Messenger’s sports columns, you often see many names of people who are in the public eye as they play local youth and high school sports.
Years after their high school playing years, you might wonder what happened to this person. Nathan Downs is one of those individuals who was truly what I would call a “late bloomer” in the sport and went on to become hugely successful after his playing years in high school.
Nathan Downs grew up with his father Jeff Downs who is now in Evansville and his mother Mary Nelson who is still in Madisonville. Downs was a Madisonville North Hopkins golfer playing six years in grades seven through 12. He graduated in 2007.
Golf is different from basketball and football in that golf is really not a high school spectator sport.
Many of you will remember basketball and football players because you probably saw the games or saw their names in the newspaper. Golfers often toil and work on their games while playing alone or play on a course in a match where there are only one or two other people.
After graduating from high school, Downs ended up at Keizer University College of Golf in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and graduated from there in September 2013.
Keizer University College of Golf is where he earned his associate’s degree and completed golf courses such as Tournament Operations, Rules of Golf, Strategic Golf Operations Management, and Advanced Golf Instruction. golf.
This training had led him to a meteoric rise as a teacher, instructor and golf player. During his time at Keizer and afterwards, Downs was a PGA Professional Golf Assistant at the PGA Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He will remain there until December 2014.
In December 2014, Downs had a real breakthrough in the industry when he moved to the prestigious Hurstbourne Country Club in eastern Jefferson County in Louisville where he worked under PGA golf professional Danny Baron.
Over the next five years, Downs worked closely with Baron to recruit, hire, train and manage a 20-member team. While in that position, he was the Kentucky Professional Golf Association’s 2018 Assistant Golf Pro of the Year.
Downs has developed a real reputation for promoting private lessons by increasing the annual number of private lessons given from 170 people in 2015 to 230 people in 2018. A big credit for this increase goes to the promotion of Downs and the results of the students that he had. in his lessons.
With this experience, he was able to transition to Chief Golf Professional at Greenbrier Golf and Country Club in Lexington, Kentucky in September 2019. In September 2021, Downs was named Director of Golf Operations at Greenbrier Golf and Country Club in Lexington.
Along the way, he honed his already formidable personality by developing interpersonal skills that helped him build a reputation throughout central Kentucky as a great instructor.
He was the 2020 Kentucky PGA Dealer of the Year and was a national finalist for that award. He has given over 2,500 private golf lessons and organized numerous clinic-style groups to students of all skill levels. At the end of the day, he is what we would also call a latecomer who “hit it big” later in life.
He owes much of his great success today to his journey where he learned the sport in his hometown of Madisonville, Kentucky.
Downs said: “I learned golf and how to play it from my stepfather Eric Nelson. It was truly tragic that Eric developed covid in October 2020 and passed away. However, his legacy lives on in his children and all who knew him.”
Downs didn’t forget how to talk a little slap, however. I often say that playing golf is not just about playing the game, but about dressing the role and knowing how to talk about the game.
Downs was quick to point out that his uncle and his cousins, Barry Nelson, Josh Nelson and Caleb Nelson, are good golfers. However, Downs spoke a bit snappy, noting, “They think they can stay with me on the course until we play. They quickly see that they have no chance.
Downs’ current endeavor is the development of a $5.5 million expansion for his club. This includes a fitness center, four simulators, a putt view green, a full dining facility, physical therapy, and a children’s activity center.
Downs and his wife, Lauren, have one child, Emmett Dean. Like most of the other residents of Lexington, they have become big fans of the University of Kentucky and when he is not playing golf he attends an event in the UK.
It’s great to catch up and hear that a former golfer was able to be part of the sport his whole life. Not only being a part of it, but Nathan Downs was very successful in his sport after high school as he transitioned it into a career.