One of the coolest things about playing on the International Junior Golf Tour is that you never know who you might be playing with in any given tournament. Juniors from not just across the country, but from around the world compete on the IJGT and they each bring a unique background and perspective. As such, we’d like to begin highlighting some of our members.
Our inaugural IJGT member spotlight features R.J. Wren. Wren competed in his first IJGT event, the Metropolitan Junior at Forsgate Country Club, on March 28-29, 2015. He carded back-to-back birdies on the par-4 15th and 16th holes in round one. His 162 tournament total landed him in a tie for 13th in the Boys 15-19 Division.
For Wren, there is an important relationship between golf and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Wren was born with an injury to his brachial plexus, the network of nerves that runs from the neck to the arm and controls arm and shoulder movement. This injury restricted the mobility in his left shoulder and arm. Wren underwent an unsuccessful muscle transfer surgery when he was two years old, before undergoing a successful surgery at age four. Scott Kozin, M.D., a surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia, performed the latter, a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery that allowed Wren to regain movement in his arm and shoulder. If not for the surgery, Wren would be unable to play the game he loves, and thrives at, today.
Wren now serves as an Ambassador and Fundraiser for Shriners Hospitals for Children and last October, the relationship between golf and Shriners manifested itself once again. The Shriners fraternal organization arranged for Wren and his father to play a round of golf with PGA TOUR players Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman at Wolf Creek Golf Club in Nevada. This experience was the highlight of Wren’s young golf career. You can watch a video about it here. Read on to learn more about Wren.
Name: R.J. Wren
Hometown: Morgantown, PA
Graduation Year: 2016
Favorite Food: Lobster mac & cheese
Favorite TV Show: The Challenge
Favorite Pro Golfer: Tossup…[Brandt] Snedeker & [Padraig] Harrington
Favorite Movie: 22 Jump Street
Favorite Non-Golf Athlete: Derek Jeter
Favorite Band or Musician: Fall Out Boy
Favorite Sports Team(s): Yankees & Cowboys
Q & A WITH WREN
When and why did you start playing golf?
8 years old…took a lesson and loved it
How did you hear about the IJGT?
Online and from watching the Hank Haney Show years ago
Any highlights from the Metropolitan Junior?
Birdied [hole No.] 16 both days
Favorite golf memory?
Playing at Wolf Creek Golf Club (NV) with Paddy Harrington and Trevor Immelman
Favorite course you’ve played and why?
TPC Sawgrass. I made a 15-footer on the 18th hole to break 100 when I was 8 years old.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the course?
A squirrel took my golf ball during a high school practice
Who’s had the biggest influence on your golf game?
My coaches Eric MacCluen and Bob Kramer
What does your role as Ambassador and Fundraiser for Shriners Hospitals for Children entail?
Raising money through a birdies for charity program and also working at their charity golf tournament every fall
How long have you been serving in this role with Shriners and how did you get involved?
Three years. I just volunteered.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In what little time I have after golf and homework, I hang out with friends, watch Netflix and play with my Golden Retreiver, Rootie.
Do you play any other sports besides golf?
I used to play baseball and I still play recreational soccer with my friends.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My dad always says “have character, don’t be a character.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks to the IJGT for all they do for junior golf…great people!