Luke

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Luke EGW Golf Collage

Luke Girling

Age 39, Farmer

"So now it’s all about being outside for me. Golf is just walking around a beautiful place and hitting a ball. I don’t keep track of my handicap, it’s about being in a nice place with some good buddies."

I am a farmer. I grow food and a lot of flowers.

I’ve always had gardens, ever since first grade. I was obsessed with this little plot where I gardened. We had fruit trees, and I remember eating really good foods. I’m an only child but I wasn’t privileged like an only child - I had chores, responsibilities and had to earn everything. I lived about two blocks from Oside Muni and since I was a hyper kid, my parents bought me a set of clubs in 2nd grade and a few lessons and said “take a walk.”

I remember the course seemed so big, it felt like an adventure; for me it was freedom and I got really into it. I grew up surfing in Oceanside and once surfing and partying took over in high school, golf faded, but there were always a handful of us that would still play sometimes. We would go behind the Ralphs at Goat Hill GC and jump through a hole in the fence and wait for guys to tee off, go down the course a little and make a break for it: drop our balls, hit off the fairway and try to finish; a lot of times we’d get chased off the course. But it was a thrill like skating a backyard pool.

Later, I worked at a health food deli dealing with all the produce. I got really interested in the farmers and what they were doing, so I started visiting their farms. I remember coming back from the farms and going back to work thinking “this work thing sucks, man.” So, I got a job on an orchard and spent a lot of time by myself on 50 acres, trying to learn everything on my own. I decided to go to UC Santa Cruz and did this incredible extension farm program. When I finished, I went full bore and I started my own farm with $2,000. We did a Kickstarter to crowd fund the farm and raised about $16,000. But, a few months in I found a big lump in my chest that turned out to be a tumor. All the money I’d saved went toward my medical treatment. That experience made me realize I need to be more driven, but also have more fun.

So now it’s all about being outside for me. Golf is just walking around a beautiful place and hitting a ball. I don’t keep track of my handicap, it’s about being in a nice place with some good buddies. I golf just because, but really, I’m a farmer.

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