D.A. Weibring’s balky back won’t let him play much golf. He lives an otherwise normal life, but said, “Turning and hitting golf balls is not in the cards.”
That is a difficult thing when you’ve made millions driving fairways and holing bunker shots. So what do you do when your passion still burns but your body flames out?
You redirect it.
Weibring’s passion is back where it’s always been, just stronger than ever. It is as much renewed as redirected. The 1975 Illinois State grad uses words like “inspired” and “motivated” in regard to his alma mater, its golf programs and the course that bears his name.
At 64, he is revved up and honed in on making ISU golf the best it can be, as surely as if he was staring down a 20-foot putt to win.
For 25 years Weibring took time from his PGA Tour schedule to host an annual ISU golf fundraiser. The Weibring Classic produced $1.5 million, providing scholarships and travel opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible.
“I think it’s time to go again,” he said Friday.
That does not mean a return of the Weibring Classic, which ended in 2004. It does mean Weibring will be back for the second straight year for ISU’s “The Players” fundraiser, scheduled for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and will include Weibring’s friend and former Redbird basketball All-American, Doug Collins.
The event raises money for ISU’s men’s and women’s golf programs, expansion of the Jim and Carole Mounier Training Center and other golf-related enhancements. Weibring’s appearance last year helped raise funds for a new practice green at the training center.
Coaches and players from the ISU men’s and women’s teams and University High School helped cut, haul and lay sod for the project Friday. That was gratifying to Weibring, who said of ISU players now and in the future, “I want them to have the best of everything, but I want them to work for it and be sure they’re motivated to stay involved in the program after they leave.”
“Let’s take care of our own,” Weibring said from his home near Dallas. “Let’s build character in these young players. Let’s get that message out there and help grow the game. I think the foundation is there.
“I enjoyed being back last year. I wasn’t looking for this, but I was inspired and I’m trying to help them. I didn’t think I’d be back and getting auction items (this year), but I am. I think it can be fun and I’m further encouraged by the response I’ve gotten from some of the alumni. We’re going to push the limit and see what happens.”
The first push will be to connect with as many former Redbird players — men and women — as possible. Weibring will make it known at this year’s “The Players” he wants emails and contacts for every former Redbird “as far back as we can go,” he said.
He has heard there is a list of about 400 names, but said, “I think there’s more than that (out there).”
“I hope we can set an example (as a golf program) to take care of our own,” Weibring said. “I’m trying to start the momentum and get people back on campus. I want them to feel the momentum and protect the asset and for all those former players to write a check and help raise some money.”
That is, give back.
Weibring vowed to “put my money where my mouth is” and contribute as well. He has improvements in mind that need to be addressed soon at Weibring Golf Club: fixing a drainage problem near No. 5, redoing bunkers throughout the course, replacing lost trees and pruning existing ones.
He would like to see a building constructed at the training center “for video and combined locker rooms and offices.” He has pushed for the golf programs to host a “Junior Day,” which has been scheduled for this year. He wants the men’s and women’s teams to host an annual “Charity Day” to raise funds for a worthy cause.
He has other ideas as well, including one he said, “I can’t really talk about yet, but it’s real.”
Told you he is revved up.
Weibring’s energy comes from several sources, including the work of longtime Weibring Golf Club pro Laura Provost and the athletic department’s commitment to the course and the golf programs.
Yet, no one has motivated him more than second-year course superintendent Travis Williams, who Weibring called “a winner.”
“He has that can-do spirit that I love,” Weibring said. “He’s not saying, ‘I don’t have enough people’ or ‘I don’t have the resources.’ He just goes to work. You have to have somebody who can make it happen in the field. I really appreciate the can-do effort.”
It has Weibring inspired, motivated.
That’s a big win for ISU golf.