He’s not Phil Michelson, but Kingsburg resident Kenny Collins has excelled at golf his whole life and is making a nice living at least partially through the sport.

Now Collins has qualified for the PGA Club Professional National Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The area man made it by shooting a one-over-par at the Northern California Senior PGA Professional Championship at the San Jose Country Club Aug. 28-29. The event is for competitors who work in the golf profession.

“There are 264 who qualify out of about 7,000 who try to make it,” Collins said. “There are 41 sections in the country and 4-8 advance from each section.”

Collins, a Reedley High graduate who grew up in Selma, played on mini tours in Canada (1988-1991) and Australia/New Zealand (1988-1990) and in several pro-am events from 1989 through 1990.

 “I made about $50,000, but I had about $95,000 in expenses and that wasn’t a very good business model,” he said.

Collins has been a club pro for 21 years, including five at his current post at the Visalia Country Club. His father, Ted Collins, taught and coached at Reedley High so the game came naturally to him.

“It’s an extreme challenge,” Collins said. “I appreciate the game because we’re all so busy and everything is so hectic and it’s nice to slow down and be able to play the game.

"Golf is also like life because you can hit a perfect tee shot and something abnormal can happen like the ball hitting a sprinkler head and kicking into the trees. Then it’s a matter of how you respond. I think I’m smarter now at dealing with things and I’m a better putter than I used to be.”

Collins attended College of the Sequoias after high school and was highly recruited out of COS where he was the team most valuable player in 1983 and ’84 and conference player of the year as a sophomore. He played at Fresno State as a junior and senior, making the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Association team in 1987.  

He has qualified for eight national championships – two as a junior player, two as an adult amateur/college player and four as a PGA professional.

His son, Sean Collins, played golf for Kingsburg High, graduating last spring.

John Murphy can be reached at 583-2413 or jmurphy@hanfordsentinel.com.