Key Milwaukee

July 2013

An A-Z visitors guide to Milwaukee Wisconsin. Sponsored by Key Magazine Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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KEY GOLF Wisconsin native looks forward to Senior Tour Nothing cheesy about Jerry Kelly's game By JERRY SLASKE KEY Milwaukee golf editor WISCONSIN NATIVE Jerry Kelly is experiencing a sort of rebirth on the PGA Tour this year, hoping to set a solid foundation for a move to the Senior Tour. "My goal is to get back in the winner's circle and use it as a bridge to the next level," says Kelly, 47, a three-time winner on the big tour who has over $24 million in career earnings. "I'm in a better position now than ever before to do that." Leading the charge this year has been a great improvement in his ball striking. "Without a doubt I've been steadily making better contact and hitting more greens in regulation," he says. "Also, my putting is more solid." Kelly downplays any physical problems as the reason for his frustration in recent years, saying "everything goes in cycles" and that playing with injuries is part of any sport. He ought to know, having played hockey at the University of Hartford and continuing to do so occasionally during the off season. While you can count on Kelly showing up at just about every tour event because "it's a short season", he had to miss his favorite stop this year – the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 2326. That was the week of his son's 8th grade graduation and nothing gets in the way of participating in his son's activities. (Kelly's second favorite tourney is the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, where he had his best finish so far this year – 5th place.) "When I'm not on tour, my son dictates my schedule," he says. "It's nonstop," including golfing together at their home course, Maple Bluff Country Club in Madison, where his son at times outdistances him. Kelly prides himself on his family's closeness. "I'm sort of a solitary guy on tour…a hermit," he quips. 54 PGA pro Jerry Kelly seeks win as 'bridge' to Senior Tour "Instead, it's all about family. My wife and son travel with me as often as possible," which he says will continue on the senior circuit. In fact, his most memorable moment in golf was his second win at the 2002 Advil Western Open in Chicago when both of his families were there to help him hoist the trophy. "It's one of those keepsake photos," he says. While Kelly doesn't really chum around with any other tour pros during the season, he does have guys with whom he likes to be paired. "I know it sounds kind of cliché for Wisconsin guys, but I really enjoy 'Strick'," he says, referring to Steve Stricker, another highly successful Wisconsin native on Tour and one of its best putters. "We feed off one another; besides, it helps my putting when we play together." Like Stricker, Kelly's keeps his year-round residence in Wisconsin because he likes the seasons. "I'd go nuts if it were summer all year round," he says. And it was the change of seasons that got him into golf. His first love may still be hockey, but he says he had to do something in the summer. (Kelly's other Wisconsin loves include a lake perch dinner; Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese from the Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville; Hook's 15-year Cheddar from Hook's Cheese Company in Mineral Point; and Spotted Cow beer from New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus.) What gets Kelly's juices flowing about golf is the competition. "It's one against 143 every week," he says. "If that doesn't get your attention nothing will. I like the physicality and the hits of hockey and its team aspect, but golf appeals to a whole different side."

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