Tampa golf academy owner broke mold, breaks rules
TAMPA - Brianne Murphy was ridiculed constantly, and that was when she was winning. It was worse on some of those rare times she was losing. Murphy, who owns Murphy’s Golf Academy that operates out of Rocky Point Golf Club, but teaches in several locations throughout Tampa Bay, got her start playing a sport she loved in a male-dominated system. She started at 15, very late for any golfer with dreams of advancing beyond weekend hacker. But like most golfers, once she got started, she was hooked. There was no female golf team at her high school in Cape Cod, Mass., so she joined the guys’ team. Murphy was a natural and it didn’t take long to compete with her teammates and guys from the opposition, but it wasn’t always easy. “I took lots of heat,” Murphy, a big-time Notre Dame fan, said. “Everybody I played got kidded about not losing to the girl. It gave me a lot of incentive. I loved seeing them walk home after I beat them.”By her senior year, Murphy was the No. 2 player on her team, which included late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon, and came to Florida for a few years of college before returning to Cape Cod. She really had the desire to take her game to the elite level, but coaching got into her blood. “As soon as I started teaching in Cape Cod, I was hooked,” Murphy said. “When I see the look in their face, that ‘ah-ha’ moment when one of my students finally gets it, that’s what I enjoy the most.” Of course, Murphy didn’t have much of a choice. She may have had the game, but she tried to ride through a ditch on her motorcycle, which fell on her, breaking her collarbone in half. It is rare for a golfer to win a tournament with a busted collarbone. The injury sidelined Murphy for nine months, but she was chipping and putting after about six. She is fully recovered and loves teaching, but keeps it in the back of her mind that she wouldn’t mind having another shot at playing competitively. She’s been away from competition for a little while, but that isn’t something to deter Murphy. “I have never really followed the rules at anything,” Murphy said. “The fewer the rules, the better. If someone tells me not to do something, I will try to do it.” Opening her golf academy was one way to step out of the box. When she first started out, she said a lot of men were skeptical. It’s changed. She said she has about 40 percent men, 40 percent women and the rest are juniors. After the lessons start, it’s all about golf. “I can be one of the guys,” Murphy said. “Teaching is about a special relationship between golfers. It was hard at first, but the guys accept me and trust me. It was a problem but it is all different.” She loves a challenge from her male students who think it’s easy to beat a girl. “There are a couple that I can’t beat but I can beat most of them. It’s all about the swing, whatever you are. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just concentrate on the grip, your alignment, and your posture. It’s all easy.” Win or lose, nobody is laughing at Murphy now.