Chasing the Dream, a nine-part Golf Channel series premiering Tuesday, Oct. 2, will chronicle the stories of two men from opposite sides of the country and opposite sides of life as they attempt to realize their dream of competing on the PGA TOUR.
For professional golfers Chris Anderson and Robbie Biershenk, the quest to make it to the big leagues of golf is filled with professional and personal sacrifices, highs and lows, successes and failures. Anderson, 41, from Yorba Linda, Calif., has tasted success in professional golf and is looking to resurrect a once-promising career, highlighted by two stints on the PGA TOUR in 2003 and 2005 and a victory on the Web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide Tour) in 2004. Biershenk, 35, owner of Shank’s Driving Range in Greenville, S.C. and a former competitor on Golf Channel’s popular Big Break series, has set a goal to join his older brother Tommy on the PGA TOUR. Their stories are not the same, but they have the same dream – to walk the fairways among the game’s elite players.
Throughout the 2012 golf season, Golf Channel cameras have captured the personal and professional journeys of Anderson and Biershenk, both on and off the golf course. Through unique storytelling, each episode of Chasing the Dream will provide an intimate look at the sacrifice of each man as he pursues his dream. Actor James Remar, best known for his roles in Sex and the City and Dexter, provides the narration for the series.
“Athletes all over the world spend a lifetime sacrificing for a very slim chance at a brief moment of glory. Chasing the Dream will give viewers an up-close look at the ups and downs that Robbie, Chris, their friends and families have been willing to endure in order for them to chase their ultimate dream of playing on the PGA TOUR,” said Golf Channel President Mike McCarley. “Through the use of unique storytelling NBC has made famous at the Olympics, the quests of these two men will resonate not only with golfers, but also with anyone who has to sacrifice to pursue their own dream.”
Biershenk is a real-life “Tin Cup” story, referring to the 1996 movie starring Kevin Costner as a driving range pro who attempts to fulfill his golf potential by qualifying for the U.S. Open. Biershenk took ownership of a decrepit driving range six years ago, and is attempting to turn it around to be one of the top golf practice ranges in South Carolina. But the range is just a means to the end; ultimately, he is hoping to realize his potential as a golfer and make it on tour. An accomplished junior golfer, he admits he made some bad decisions early on that sidetracked his golf career.
“I had a very successful junior career, but I took a left when most guys that I was competing with – and beating – took a right,” said Biershenk. “Most of these guys that I used to beat, there is a handful of them on the PGA TOUR now. They made better decisions at that age.”
Anderson competed on the PGA TOUR in 2003 and 2005 – highlighted by a T4 finish at the 2003 Southern Farm Bureau Classic – and finished that year ranked 152nd on the PGA TOUR money list. After playing the year in between on the Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour) in 2004 – which included a win at the SAS Carolina Classic – he returned to the PGA TOUR in 2005 and incorporated swing changes in the hope of keeping his play at a high level. The changes were too much and soon he lost confidence in his game, as his scoring results showed. That was when things began to unravel.
After several years of lackluster performances, coupled with family business issues constantly tugging at him, Anderson hung up the golf clubs and joined the family forklift business. Currently, Anderson is vice president of Industry Lift, Inc. He has a steady paycheck and he gets to tuck his kids into bed every night. But he never lost his passion for the game and is ready to give professional golf another go.
“It is really, really hard to get on the PGA TOUR. It is even harder to stay out there,” said Anderson. “I’ve learned a lot over the years, not only about the game but also about myself. I also know that my scorecards don’t reflect the caliber of the player I can be.”
The premiere of Chasing the Dream will join a new season of Golf Channel’s popular Big Break series – Big Break Greenbrier – to bolster the network’s Tuesday fall primetime lineup. Golf Channel is the fastest-growing network on television among those serving more than 80 million homes, based on achieving six consecutive quarters of growth since becoming part of the NBC Sports Group.