Put Him In Coach: Matt Palsenbarg Is Everywhere

Cory Renfrew (L) With Coach Matt Palsenbarg (image credit Alfie Lau)

January 28th, 2015


by Alfie Lau, Inside Golf

When we last saw Matt Palsenbarg, Golf LAB at Northview Golf & Country Club co-owner, he had spent two action-packed days teaching some of the best British Columbia juniors high-performance golf techniques.

He started this week on Monday, giving a presentation on those high-performance techniques to PGA of BC professionals at the Vancouver Golf Club.

He had just enough time to get home to spend some time scootering with his daughter when he found out that another of his charges, Victoria’s Cory Renfrew, had Monday qualified for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

It took Palsenbarg mere minutes to ask his wife permission – the couple just had a newborn son with the iconic middle name of Danger – and by 7:30 p.m. Monday, he had booked a 6 a.m. Tuesday flight to Phoenix so that he could work alongside Renfrew.

Palsenbarg landed in Phoenix via San Francisco and after one of Renfrew’s friends picked him up at the airport, Palsenbarg was able to join Renfrew and caddy Andrew Ledger on the 10th tee for nine holes of reconnaissance at the TPC Scottsdale.

Palsenbarg, along with instructor Kris Hartman, have worked with Renfrew for about a year now and while Tuesday’s practice round with Canadian Mike Weir gave Renfrew a chance to see the course in tournament condition, it also gave Palsenbarg a chance to be a resource for the Cordova Bay member.

With IPad in tow, Palsenbarg could shoot footage of every aspect of Renfrew’s game and if Renfrew had a question, then the tape would not lie.

Palsenbarg also had a chance to catch up with Terry Rowles, who’s assisting Weir with some coaching, and Danny Sahl, Weir’s caddy.

With the course closed for most of Wednesday because of the Annexus Pro-Am, Palsenbarg spent more time with Renfrew on the double-ended practice range.

Close by was Ledger, an old UBC golf teammate of Renfrew’s who joked that the Monday qualifier was his first time looping and he’s got a pretty good record that he hopes to continue this weekend with hopefully, a made cut.

Palsenbarg is cautiously optimistic for Renfrew, so much so that he hasn’t booked his return flight back to Vancouver. After all, a made cut means a Sunday night/Monday departure, and a Top 10 for Renfrew means another flight, not to Vancouver, but to San Diego for the next PGA TOUR stop at Torrey Pines.

Maybe the biggest “danger” to Palsenbarg’s health is being away from his young family for too long. Palsenbarg has had little inconvenience, save for having to sleep on an air mattress or couch at Renfrew’s Scottsdale pad that he shares with Eric Hawerchuk, another aspiring golfer who also happens to be NHL Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk’s son.

Hawerchuk is playing a Gateway Tour event and off to try to pre-qualify in San Diego so there’s a little more room in the Renfrew/Hawerchuk casa.

And perhaps the biggest concern for Palsenbarg is he wants to help Renfrew relax by taking him to Top Golf, the golf entertainment centre that is all the rage in the Southwest. “Last time we went, we were tied 2-2 so we have to find out who wins,” joked Palsenbarg.

Judging by Renfrew’s qualification into the WM Phoenix Open, I’m guessing we know the answer to that question.