This article originally appeared in Reynolds Living Magazine - subscribe here.

The most accomplished golfer at Reynolds is wearing dusty boots and he’s handing you a shotgun. On his face is the kind of grin you’d see on a 12-year-old boy who snuck a few cookies on his way out the backdoor to go fishing.

“I love being out here,” says Blake Adams, PGA Tour professional and the Director of Player Development at The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee. He just made the two-hour drive from his home in Nunez, Georgia, to The Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds. It’s 7:30 a.m. (yep, it’s normal for him to leave the house at 5:30). We have the entire day’s forecast ahead of us: sunshine and 74 degrees. Aside from that?

“It’s up to you, this is your experience,” Blake says.

Sporting clays? Yes.

Off-roading? Sure.

Boating? Why not?

The golf is assumed because, well, remember the part about him being a PGA Tour professional? And we’re at Reynolds, which means the options include 117 holes, club fitting at The Kingdom, and Blake’s personal help with slices and yips.

“People sometimes want me to have supper with them, so they can hear stories from life on the PGA Tour,” Blake says. “It’s literally whatever you want to do. I’m kind of like a personal … what do you call it … concierge.”

Officially, this is called the Blake Adams Kingdom Experience. But we aren’t at The Kingdom yet, so even the name is whatever you want. A Day with Blake. Adults Acting Like Kids. “It’s your experience, not mine,” he says for the third time in the first 10 minutes. “You tell me what you like to do and I’ll create an itinerary and come alongside for a few laughs and to tell some stories.”

Blake has a million of them. He’s been paired on the Tour with Mickelson, DJ, Spieth, Day, and just about every other pro golfer you can name. But today he’s paired with you. And at the moment you’re both holding shotguns in the five-stand at The Sporting Grounds.

“Pull!” The morning silence is broken. First with the sound of a gunshot, followed by Blake’s laidback voice pointing out the obvious result of the blast: a complete miss.

“It’s a good thing we ain’t hungry and hunting for food.” Any ice that existed is immediately shaved and melted. “Give it another shot. Get out in front of the clay a little bit more. Take your time. We have all day.”

These are my hunting boots, off-roading boots, boating boots, and my golf boots — I think they’re made for the full Reynolds experience. Blake Adams

Blake is about the same age as everyone in the five-stand but talks like a reassuring dad — with few words that somehow make a difference. Pull! A clay turns to crumbs in the sky. Pull! The remnants of another clay shower onto the pond. Blake takes a turn and hits both targets as easily as he hit wedges on the Tour.

“This is who I am when I’m not playing golf. I love being in the woods. My mama lives not too far from here, so on the Tour I was always proud to be announced as ‘Blake Adams from Eatonton, Georgia.’”

He says growing up his best sports were baseball, basketball, and football. Two timely shots during a high school tournament in front of the head golf coach from the University of Georgia changed his path and earned him an offer from the Bulldogs.

“There’s no telling what my story would be like if I’d mis-hit those two shots at that moment.” You take turns blowing up clays before Blake makes a suggestion: “We can keep score if you want.”

“Mm … nah,” you say, remembering he’s a professional athlete. “We don’t need the pressure.”

“Let me tell you about pressure,” Blake says in the same tone you’d hear if you were both sitting in rocking chairs. “When my son was six weeks old, my wife and I bought a bus that we couldn’t afford. We decided that the three of us would travel on Tour as a family. I remember pulling out of the driveway for our first tournament in Missouri and thinking, ‘What have we done?’ You want to talk about pressure to make birdies … that little man and his pretty mama were depending on it.”

Every gram of stress disintegrates with the clays. You pull the trigger again and, without turning to look at Blake, casually ask, “You wanna go for a ride?”

“Will we make it through?” We’re halfway into a rut as deep as a sinkhole, so we’ll either come out on the other side … or not. The Jeep Rubicon is made for this kind of offroading at The Sporting Grounds: over ditches, under fallen trees, and entertaining two guys on an adventure.

“I live outside a town with 130 people, no red lights, and a lot of dirt roads, so this is like home,” Blake says. “Whoa … look out. If I’d known you were a city boy, I would’ve brought my winch.”

The quiet comfort inside the Discovery is a stark contrast to the work that the vehicle’s suspension is doing. Blake tells you about his two kids (“good little athletes”) and asks about yours. It seems like a good time to ask him about making a run at winning the AT&T at Pebble Beach in 2014.

“I played with Phil [Mickelson] in the final round. We were in the second to last group with a pretty good chance to win. When I woke up that Sunday morning, I told my wife something was wrong with the same left hip that I just had surgery on. I could barely walk, shot a 78, and dropped off the leaderboard.”

“What happened with your hip?”

“I had to have a total hip replacement … watch out for the tree on this side … and I came back too soon. After months of rehab, I shot 64 in my first round back on Tour. The next day I woke up and I couldn’t touch my kneecaps. People don’t realize the incredible toll that professional golf takes on a player’s body. That boulder is enormous, isn’t it?”

A thumb injury has prevented Blake from playing more than nine holes of golf since 2019. He says he misses the Pro-Am tournaments — meeting new people, hearing their stories, and sharing some laughs.

“The Pro-Ams are a lot like these laid-back experiences at Reynolds,” he says, “but with golf clubs.”

“Take your time. Be an athlete.” This is Blake’s favorite golf advice at The Kingdom. He checks the Trackman data of your shots and simply says, “Step to your right about an inch and give it a rip. Don’t think.”

He’s still wearing those boots. They fit his feet perfectly and his approach to life. This is not brain surgery. You stop thinking and just swing. The ball leaves the tee like a cruise missile.

“That felt good, didn’t it?” Blake says. “Do it again. Add a little club speed for more distance.” He recently hosted a guest and her son for eight days. The woman wanted to use the time to improve her game. No Sporting Grounds. No boat rides. Just golf.

“I don’t give cookie-cutter instruction, but I do want everyone to keep it simple and to keep it fun. There’s a tendency to throw too much information at people. There’s no need to make golf more difficult than it already is.”

Blake also used the “fun” speech during the 2010 AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas. He’d taken a shuttle to the first hole to meet his playing partner and saw a huge gallery, upwards of 3,000 people — very unusual on a Thursday for anyone not named Tiger.

“I introduced myself to this young local phenom named Jordan Spieth. He was 16. Everyone had gotten out of school to watch him play in his pro debut. He could barely breathe on the first tee and hit it into the rough. As we walked down the fairway I put an arm around him and said, ‘I don’t know what your career will be like, but I do know this: you’ll never have a harder shot than the one you just hit. Whatever happens from here, enjoy it.’”

“Remember, this is an escape.” Blake says this on a boat. He says it in the five-stand. He says it on the off-road course. And now he’s saying it on one of the most difficult holes at Reynolds: 18 at The Oconee. As you stand over your second shot, looking at sand and lake encompassing the green in the distance, he repeats the advice you’ve heard probably 15 times today: “Take your time. Be an athlete.”

For some reason, it keeps working.

“That … is … a … bomb,” he says. He has a way of making the game easier, which is quite a feat from a guy in boots. “I’ve been fortunate to play with Hall of Fame athletes from every sport. One guy told me, ‘It’s easier to stand at the plate in Yankee Stadium with two outs in the ninth inning than it is to make this four-foot putt.”

You happen to be standing over a 15- foot putt, and you remember Blake’s advice from throughout the day while he continues telling stories.

Be an athlete. “I’ll always be grateful that I got to play a game for a living at the highest level. And now I can help others play better.”

Take your time. “My injuries were a blessing in disguise because now I can be a full-time daddy and husband, and do all of this with people. I’m making memories in a completely different way.”

Enjoy the moment. “All I want is for people like you to say 10 or 15 years from now, ‘I remember that experience at Reynolds.’”

The ball rolls across the green toward the hole. You don’t want this day to end.

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