The broad-shouldered man with the moose on his hat and anti-gravity in his golf clubs is just glad he got the call. Maybe even more glad he answered that.
Justin Moose was behind a desk working as a site manager at a distribution center for American Eagle Outfitters in 2018 when he received a call from mogul Frank B. Fuhrer Jr., the man behind the prestigious golf tournament with the beer wholesaler name.
“Mr. Fuehrer called me to offer me a place at his event,” said Moose, a Norwin graduate. “It was a life changing call to be honest. I owe him a lot for that call.”
The invitation – and positive reinforcement from his wife Nicole – gave Moose clarity: I can do it. I’m good at it.
No, I’m very good at that.
As one of the best long-distance drivers in the world, Moose sends golf balls into the orbit of the pros and also plays tournament golf when his schedule allows.
But he’s still a golfer, just as he’s a Pittsburgh guy. He’s a professional.
“I served in the Fuhrer for Arnie Cutrell years ago,” said Moose. “I never knew I would play at the event. That was my fourth year in it. “
Earlier this summer he returned to the Fuhrer Invitational at Pittsburgh Field Club, which gave him a week off and the opportunity to test his all-round skills against some of the best young professionals and amateurs from across the country.
“I do 50 or 60 trips a year now,” said Moose, who lives in South Carolina but still has a family in the Pittsburgh area. “People love to see the ball fly. I love putting them on a show and I’ve added some tricks. “
Moose played golf and basketball and was a pitcher in athletics with Norwin. Golf started its fall season, which left no time for soccer, much to the surprise of a former Steelers coach.
“I hit balls on a range once and Dick LeBeau came up to me and said, ‘You should be on a soccer field, not a driving range,'” Moose said. “Then I had a tea and met him. He turns to me and says, ‘Okay, maybe you should be on a driving range.’ ”
Going from a peppy showman beating it over 400 meters with glorious chants of “Moooose” to a reticent, methodical striker with touch is no easy task.
Natural talent has brought Moose far. He was a talented junior and high school player who first hit the drives at the now defunct Carradam Golf Course in North Huntingdon. He played college golf at Clarion.
But his dedication and work ethic made him the “beast” his teammates got to know.
“I hit a couple of holes right with him,” said Notre Dame Junior Palmer Jackson, a Franklin Regional graduate who played with Moose in the guide’s first two rounds. “Then he decides to step it up a bit and really go for it. After that I was about 50 meters behind him. It is ridiculous.”
Moose, who proudly lets people know where he’s from by waving a terrible towel before wiping out rides at competitions – he also has a “Yinz” tattoo – said long driving and just playing the game are two different worlds .
“Two different mental processes,” he said. “Two different animals. You’re training your body like an Olympic athlete so you can swing as fast as possible. Then you slow everything down. It is a challenge. Sometimes I have to think that I have to find earth. “
Moose said he hit “chip drives” on par 4s. His drivers are different too. He uses a 3 degree loft driver that is 48 inches long and has an “extra, extra, extra” stiff shaft for long drive events.
When he plays tournament golf, he has a more standard driver and iron. Even though the driver’s floor is around 8 degrees, Moose could probably clear a few soccer fields with a snow shovel and some anger.
Moose said he hopes to compete in a national endurance championship in September. The event is in the works after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 season.
He recently started working with a new agent, Art Sellinger, who was working with Canadian long-distance rider Jamie Sadlowski, a two-time world champion in the big hitter game.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.