College golf seemed like it was Spartan senior Charlie Green’s destiny, but it took a crucial decision to permanently steer him away from the ice to the greens.
EAST LANSING, MICH.- Michigan State redshirt senior golfer Charlie Green never had to look far to find somebody to play a game with. Former LPGA pro Suzy Green-Roebuck is his aunt. His father, Mike Green, and his grandfather, Peter Green, played high-level collegiate golf.
Green could have felt insecure, or pressured, being around his family clan of successful golfers.
Instead, the love of the game, and strong play, passed down to him.
Even at a young age, Green’s family could tell Mike and Ann’s eldest son was going to be something special.
“We called him the ‘Little Ripper’,” Suzy said. “He was good with a stick and ball, no matter what you put in front of him. He’s just a natural.”
In Green’s MSU career, he’s averaging 74.72 strokes over 22 rounds, with one top 10 finish.
He said most of the time “it’s great” to continue the family legacy at MSU, but sometimes living up to it can be tough. This is especially true with Peter, who was a three-time All-American at the University of North Carolina from 1960-62.
“He was an incredible player and still is, and everyone knows him,” Green said. “But they’ve helped me out so much it’s been awesome.”
Although Green credits Suzy for helping him with his rhythm over this past summer, Suzy said she never steps in to help unless called upon by Green.
“You kind of stay out of the way as an aunt, him and his dad had a pretty special relationship,” Suzy said.
She said Green has a calm attitude, and that it stems more from Green’s mom, Ann, and not her side of the family.
“Even though his mom, Ann, wasn’t a golfer, she was a figure skater, she has a really great perspective on life that translates really well into golf,” Suzy said.
Mike said his son had freakish good hand-eye coordination as a toddler, which eventually progressed into becoming a two-sport athlete at Detroit Catholic Central in Novi.
His love of hockey matched his love of golf, but he had to make a decision. At the end of his junior year, Green decided to pursue golf over hockey.
“It was time to either let the hockey coaches or golf coaches know that I was sticking with one sport,” Green said. “It was nice when I let (MSU golf coach Casey Lubahn) and other coaches know that it was going to be golf and I put all my effort that summer into golf and I had a really good summer.”
However, he never felt the pressure to pursue golf over hockey even with his family background.
“It was a decision, and I’ve never regretted it,” Green said. “I made the right (decision).”
Although the decision was up to Green to play collegiate golf, he said making the decision was “tough,” even if the decision wasn’t big in “the scheme of things” in the world.
“I wasn’t really sure what to do, it was gamble either way you know,” Green said. “If I tell everyone that I was playing golf and then I go out (and) played horribly, I would’ve been more upset. It worked out the right way.”
Mike said Green loved the team aspect of hockey “more than anything” and playing an individual sport like golf wasn’t his son’s forte. Well, at least not at first.
“Being a golfer, I know what an individual, selfish sport golf can be and that isn’t Charlie,” Mike said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, don’t be afraid about being a golfer, it’s still fun being on a college golf team’, because his biggest deal was just that camaraderie.”
No matter how Green performs though, Mike said he’s proud of Green, and his other son Gordie, who plays hockey at Miami of Ohio.
“I tell the kids, I’m proud of attitude and effort, the results are all yours, and that’s just fun, but attitude and effort and (Charlie’s) attitude is a kid who’s not in the line-up and his effort just continues to get better as a golfer,” Mike said. “I’m just so proud of him.”