Music and Golf are two things that run through Alec Palen’s blood.
Both passions can be credited to Alec’s grandfather, Dan Palen.
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The elder Palen was a standout golfer for Southwest Missouri State in the mid-1950s, and a band director for Republic High, Jarrett Junior High, Parkview High and finally Southwest Missouri State.
Dan later went on to co-found Palen Music Center with his brother Bill in 1963 when they purchased Will James Music Service that began in 1911.
It was Alec’s grandfather who instilled his interest in the sport of golf at the age of seven.
“My grandpa would take me out to the course at eight in the morning and we would stay until eight at night,” said Alec Palen. “He has had a tremendous influence on me and he’s the reason why I love playing golf.”
But there was something missing from the course this season that Alec has never played without.
The support of his grandfather.
On Mar. 30, during competition at the Lake of the Ozarks Tournament, temperatures were near freezing, and rain was pouring from the gloomy sky with powerful gusts of wind.
Miserable weather conditions like these are deemed nearly unsuitable to play in. And it was halfway through competition that news was broke to Alec that Dan had passed away at the age of 76.
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Through times of adversity, one must choose to either relinquish or persevere.
Palen persevered by shooting for the lowest round of the day.
The weather didn’t stop Palen, and his grandfather’s death wasn’t going to stop him either.
“He (Dan) always enjoyed watching me play,” said Palen. “It was incredibly tough finding out during competition that he had died, but I know he would want me to keep playing for him.”
And that’s exactly what Alec did.
Only a junior, Palen has claimed All-State status three times, winning five of his 10 tournaments during the regular school season including the Ozark Tournament, before tying for second in both his district and sectional tournaments, while finishing fifth at Class 3 State and first at the 2013 Junior Match Play Championship.
In effort to still have a piece of his grandfather’s legacy with him on the course at all times, Alec still uses Dan’s 1982 Bulls Eye putter.
The 31-year-old club has seen its’ days on the course, as the grip has been completely worn off and the shaft wears three decades worth of rust.
“My grandpa’s putter has been beaten to a pulp,” said Palen. “But it’s a way I can still feel that he’s there with me when I play. I always feel that I have some ‘mojo’ on the putting green with that piece of history.”
Brett Palen, Alec’s father and Rogersville’s head golf coach, exemplifies leadership and his knowledge of the game, coaching the Wildcats to a fourth place state team finish in 2012.
“It’s so nice having my father coach Rogersville because he knows a lot about the game, and even more about how to bring the best out of each athlete,” said Alec. “He conditions us mentally throughout the whole season and I believe that gives us an advantage heading into tournaments with greater talented teams.”
Palen has verbally committed to Mizzou to play golf once he graduates from Rogersville next spring.
Getting to know Alec Palen:
Favorite athlete: Yadier Molina
Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals
Pregame superstition: Two lucky socks that he wraps his 3-Wood and Hybrid around.
Most disliked athlete: Kobe Bryant
Favorite movie: Napoleon Dynamite
Favorite musical artist: Dave Matthews Band
Favorite actor: Julianne Hough
Favorite athletic memory: Tying the leader in the State Cup match after being down 3 with 3 holes to go
Song on your iPod people wouldn't expect: “Little Things” – One Direction
Hidden talent: Rocks out on the bass guitar.