Tips have a different meaning for Kevin Streelman these days.
The second-year golf pro used to work for the monetary kind at the Cantigny Golf Course in Wheaton in his youth, but now he's giving the advice kind to young golfers like the ones who showed up at his native course Friday for a free clinic.
Cantigny's head golf pro Patrick Lynch called Streelman's return a "sort of homecoming."
"It was always my dream to come back and give a little something back to where I started," Streelman told the crowd of nearly 200 young golfers and their parents.
The 1997 Wheaton Warrenville High School graduate rose to fame after coming in fifth and collecting a $100,000 paycheck at a 2007 golf challenge in Las Vegas. He earned his PGA Tour card the next year and had some decent outings. However, Streelman is finding his groove this year, finishing in the top 20 in five tournaments so far and earning $828,567 through the end of July. His biggest payday came in March when he finished third with a 10-under-par performance at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya in Cancun. The four-day tournament netted him a $208,800 paycheck. He's also missed the cut in eight of the 21 tournaments he's played in this year.
"You have a lot more failures in this game than successes and that's what drives you not only in this game, but in life," he told the group.
Streelman urged the youngsters to expand their athletic horizons to other sports than just golf to avoid burnout and make them better athletes. Streelman didn't start playing golf until he was in the 8th grade. He eventually was invited to play golf at Duke University in North Carolina.
"A lot of my development and ease has come from my growth as an athlete," he said. "I was never an All-American. I was always just a normal kid, second or third on the team who worked hard to get where I am."
Next up for Streelman is the PGA Championship next weekend in Minnesota.