Local golf pro runs high above the stress

Tuesday , August 12, 2014 - 9:47 PM

Extra Point

Todd Brenkman watches his office like a hawk … literally.

From high above Ogden City’s golf courses – El Monte and Mt. Ogden – the PGA professional often makes sure he stops to admire the view as he runs the mountain trails. He does so not to spy or even necessarily to connect with the out of doors, but rather as a form of stress management.

While he admits he’s got a job many of us would love to have, it’s certainly not immune from pressure. Add to that the personal ebbs and flows we all face and, well, even a dream life can find the rough on occasion.

And so Brenkman runs away from it.

He runs above it.

He looks down on it.

And loves it.

“To deal with challenging times and things that come on I kind of looked for a little way to escape,” he said Tuesday morning, sitting behind the desk in his Mt. Ogden office.

Some 60 to 70 pounds lighter than he was a few years ago, Brenkman is as fit as he has been in a long time. And he’s happier too. Stresses come, of course, but he deals with them differently these days.

He still spends time with his family and, yes, he still gets out and golfs, no doubt making shots the rest of us envy. But he also carves out time for long therapeutic runs on trails high above the courses he oversees.

Brenkman’s Facebook friends have seen the posts, happily displaying cell phone pics from way, way above the city.

A recent offering showed a breathtaking view of El Monte’s quaint nine-hole track reading, “Nice view of the office below.”

Another, posted on the 4th of July reads: “Perfect time and temperature for a long trail run … if you’re a nut job.”

If making life better by becoming physically, mentally and emotionally fit makes a person a nut job, then yes, Brenkman’s certifiable.

We should all be so crazy.

Naturally, the Ogden native downplays his story. He isn’t interested in making any of this about him. When pressed for a few particulars of his fitness program, he responds humbly.

“You know, it’s nothing major. It’s four-to-five miles a day maybe six days a week,” he said. “Just something to keep you entertained. It’s just been something I recently took on to deal with some challenging times and to deal with the stresses of daily life. It’s a nice little escape for an hour.”

“It’s totally beginner stuff,” he added. “To me, it’s more fun than being in the gym.”

As he runs the trails and looks down on his “office,” Brenkman sees a couple of really nice looking golf courses. El Monte and Mt. Ogden have gone through some interesting changes recently.

Thanks in large part to superintendent Jeff McFarland and assistant superintendent Matt Bain, Mt. Ogden is more playable than ever; it’s more open and more friendly to run-of-the-mill hackers like yours truly.

El Monte still has the same classic feel, which is to say it pays tribute to its rich history. But it’s neater, greener and clearer. The driving range is downright snazzy, the cart paths between Nos. 4 and 5 are paved and clean. In addition, the pond between holes No. 1 and 9 is being renovated.

Brenkman is proud of the changes and is quick to tout them, especially when the conversation turns toward him. OK, sure, that’s acceptable; it’s understandable.

But, really, it’s worth noting if only to point out what a person can do to better his or her own life. It’s being highlighted here only to show the benefits of stress management and good health, physical and otherwise.

“Happiness is a choice,” Brenkman said, driving truth straight down the middle of the fairway.

Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at jburton@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo

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