Editors Note: This content was first published in Golf Journal, a quarterly print publication exclusively for USGA Members. The CSGA provided additional information.
Article by: Jim McCabe
(February 2, 2024) – Something John Steinbeck wrote – “A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike” – would serve you well should you cross paths with Rodean Minto.
A 40-year-old assistant pro at the Golf Club of Purchase (N.Y.), Minto never touched a club before he came to the United States from Jamaica at age 16. Introduced to the game by family members, he is a self-taught player who became good enough over time that he shot a career-best round of 68 to qualify for the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
Although he missed the cut in that event at John’s Island Club in Florida, Minto felt ready to turn pro. His first tournament was the Westchester Open, where he did make the cut.
“I got a check. It wasn’t a big check, but what I realized that week was, there is a lot of work that goes into this job,” he said.
That Minto was undeterred and would put in the work is no surprise. His journey to that point had been a series of challenges that proved his mettle.
When he had followed his family from Jamaica to Bridgeport, Connecticut, Minto was driven by a plan: “I wanted to play soccer. That is why I came to the U.S.”
He could play, too. “To this day,” he said, “I believe I was a better soccer player than a golfer. Easily.”
In hindsight, one problem was his landscape. Bassick High School in Bridgeport, which Minto attended, wasn’t a soccer powerhouse, and he played without anyone really noticing him. With no offers, there was no college until 2006, when he played for two years at Sacred Heart University, starting at age 25. By then, he had been exposed to golf at various levels and wanted more.
Minto came to find out how gratifying it could be to caddie (which he did at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Connecticut) and to work with youngsters at a First Tee chapter (first in the Bronx, then in Connecticut).
From 2012-17, Minto was fully committed to the First Tee, going from volunteer to coach to program manager, helping several youngsters go on to college. “I tried to teach kids the nine core values, and one of them is perseverance,” said Minto who has played in several Connecticut State Golf Association events including four Connecticut Opens.
Stints as a caddie at Streamsong Resort in Florida and with tournament operations on several mini-tours gave him additional lines of sight into golf. Now he has found happiness as an assistant pro, from 2018-21 at Westchester Country Club and for the past two years at Purchase.
“I’ve had the best of both worlds, going from First Tee to the Metropolitan PGA Section,” Minto said. “I always felt I would be doing something in soccer, but golf has been such a great journey. Everything I have, I have because of golf.”
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.