BC's Kaleb Gorbahn Takes On The Ups And Downs Of A Pro Golf Career

Kaleb Gorbahn - Image Credit Chuck Russell/Golf Canada

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Kaleb Gorbahn earned conditional status at last week’s PGA Tour Canada qualifying school in California, but the Smithers native was in no mood to celebrate. Gorbahn knows conditional status and a couple of dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.

He’s not guaranteed any starts this summer. Maybe he gets some, maybe he doesn’t. Gorbahn acknowledges the grind of chasing his pro golf dream has been difficult. “It has been hard,” he says. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have had doubts about whether I should be doing this or not.”

Gorbahn finished his collegiate golf career at the University of Nevada in 2018 and turned pro not long afterwards. Gorbahn hits the ball a mile and has had some success along the way. He had a nice stretch in 2020 culminating in his win at the Vancouver Open. 

But he has been plagued by inconsistency, which also bit him again at Q-school last week. “After the 2020 season I was feeling so good,” he says. “It’s just like I am on an emotional roller-coaster because one day you feel great and the next day you don’t. Every day you wake up and are optimistic it is going to change and it doesn’t. It has been a really long 18 months for me where I don’t feel like I am playing up to my potential and it really weighs down on you.”

At Q-school, played at Soboba Springs Golf Course in San Jacinto, Calif., Gorbahn opened with a four-under 68 and was inside the top 10. But he had a disastrous front nine that included a nine on his ninth hole of the day. He ended up shooting 79 and digging himself a huge hole.

Image Credit Mike West/VGT

Gorbahn Poses With The Trophy Along With VGT Commissioner Fraser Mulholland Following His 2020 Vancouver Open Victory

He rebounded nicely the final two days and finished tied for 17th to earn middle-of-the-road conditional status. “I made mistakes all week,” Gorbahn says. “My second day was the biggest example of that. I am happy to walk away with some status and hopefully I will get some starts and if not I will just Monday (qualify) and get in through the reshuffle.” 

Gorbahn got married last summer and credits his wife Lauren and his parents with helping him persevere. “I am so lucky to have my wife being super-supportive and not letting me quit. And also my parents, who are still helping me chase this dream. It is a strain on them and it is a strain on me as well. 

“There is so much stuff that weighs down on you when you are a mini-tour player or a developmental tour player. It’s hard. My job is really fun, I do generally like getting up in the morning and practising all day. I love it and it’s so much fun and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, but it’s hard because of the emotions. You are so emotionally invested in your score and performance and even when you are swinging well but scoring bad you feel really, really crappy.” 

Gorbahn does feel like he is making progress with his game. “I have said to my wife I think something special is going to happen this summer. I don’t know what it is, but I do feel something good is going to happen and I am just going to stay optimistic and wake up every day and try and think that way.”