NBA’s Kyle Kuzma talks about his love for golf

PGATOUR.COM: In terms of friends, who have become some of your NBA golf friends?

KYLE KUZMA: I play a lot of golf with Jason Kidd. I play a lot of golf with Alex Caruso, but it’s so many guys. So many guys play golf. I know Jayson Tatum, we talked a lot about golf, Donovan Mitchell golf courses, Karl Towns golf courses, I played golf with Devin Booker, who is another good guy to play golf with. It’s everywhere. Popularity within our sport is gaining momentum.

PGATOUR.COM: You’re 1.90m tall and we’ve seen some wild swings on social media, especially during the Bubble. Who has the craziest golf swing you’ve seen?

KYLE KUZMA: That I saw in person? Well, I don’t think that really matters because we were in the bubble, but JaVale McGee is about 7’2″ and he was playing clubs that were for a guy probably about 5’10.” Obviously, his swing is going to be pretty nasty just because of that dynamic.

PGATOUR.COM: For you, as a 6’9″ guy, I’m sure you had to find custom clubs and such. How did he fit into the sport with your height?

KYLE KUZMA: It was pretty easy. I’m a Puma sponsored athlete and Puma works with Cobra so the guys at Cobra in Carlsbad they’ve done a great job with me, just helping me out, making sure my clubs fit, making sure that I extended clubs, making sure my clubheads were angled exactly for me and my swing. It was pretty easy, but definitely a challenge being taller than most.

PGATOUR.COM: In the Skratch video, we see you at Langston Golf Course in the Washington DC area, which obviously has a lot of history. How was this experience?

KYLE KUZMA: It was very cool. I have always enjoyed playing golf courses, but even more so historic golf courses and Langston was very interesting. It’s one of the oldest African American courses and it’s just great to go there and play where a course has been over the years and years and years and where a lot of people have been and crossed it. It was quite a unique opportunity for me.

PGATOUR.COM: What was it like hanging out with the host? Roger Steele for the day?

KYLE KUZMA: Oh man, hanging out with Roger was really dope. I think he’s a fantastic influencer on the game, especially because he’s different from what most golfers should look like. I think he adds an element to the sport that is really innovative and just drives the game forward. He’s a fantastic person and I really enjoyed my time with him.

PGATOUR.COM: For you, as a kid from Flint, Michigan, the state has hosted many PGA TOUR events and has a rich golfing history. What was the place of golf in your childhood?

KYLE KUZMA: Michigan has some incredible backgrounds, and I always knew that about the state. The Buick Open was in my hometown of Grand Blanc, just outside of Flint, so being from that state, you kind of understand that.

PGATOUR.COM: Did you ever participate in this tournament when you were a child or did you experience the hype in the city at that time?

KYLE KUZMA: You experienced the hype more than going there. For me, especially when I was a kid, it was either basketball or football. That’s all I really cared about. I didn’t really play other sports and didn’t even care about other sports. That’s all I focused on, but you knew when the Buick Open was in town it was a big deal. You have a lot of famous people coming to town, a lot of good golfers from all over the world. You can definitely feel it.

PGATOUR.COM: When you think of Michigan and DC, what opportunities might you now have to give back to the community through the game of golf?

KYLE KUZMA: For me, I have a big platform. If you follow me, you’ll see things like me liking golf or me liking wine or me liking cigars. I think it’s really unique because we’re entering a new era in golf. You see a lot of different people playing the game, picking clubs from all different races, from all different minority groups. I think it’s great for the game as it continues to develop, you get different faces while playing the game.

PGATOUR.COM: How important is it for young children to see a face like you playing golf, even as a hobby?

KYLE KUZMA: I think it’s a great time because there are so many selling points in life. I know underprivileged kids or kids that look like me, you never really think about buying a golf club. You know, golf is a great sport for networking, it’s a great sport for having fun and it’s amazing.

PGATOUR.COM: Did you watch a lot of PGA TOUR golf and were there any players you enjoyed watching?

KYLE KUZMA: I love Bryson. We converse here and there and I love what he does for the game. He’s so scientifically sound with his analysis. It’s something that I really like. Obviously be a tiger [Woods] fan, everyone loves Tiger. I love Phil Mickelson. I think he’s a great man and an even better golfer. With me, learning golf and being really passionate about it allowed me to really study the game and learn more about it.

PGATOUR.COM: What’s the best part of your game right now?

KYLE KUZMA: Definitely my short game, which is kind of funny because everyone’s like, I’m upside down because that’s usually the hardest part. And I suck at driving. It’s probably my worst, but if I can get anywhere 130 yards or less, I’ll use my pitching wedge, I’ll use my 56 and I’m fine.

PGATOUR.COM: Most people would say a mid-range jump shot is the hardest part of the NBA, but you seem to have that.

KYLE KUZMA: (Laughs) That’s right. It’s very true.

PGATOUR.COM: Now in the Skratch video you say you want to go to Tahoe (for the American Century Championship). That’s the point. How far is your game from being in pro-am events?

KYLE KUZMA: I mean, about three years. I need three good years. I’ve only been playing for about two years now. I’m an under 90 golfer so that’s pretty good. I think in three years I will be even better. I don’t want to go there just to have fun. I want to go win. For me, I have a way to go first. I want to be competitive.

PGATOUR.COM: I like the way you say “under 90”. Do you already have a disability?

KYLE KUZMA: My handicap right now is around 15. So it’s getting low. It goes down there.

PGATOUR.COM: In the video, you are wearing a red Ferrari jacket. How do you think you could help innovate golf fashion?

KYLE KUZMA: I think golf is a sport that is entering a new era. You want to keep it as traditional as possible because it’s important, everything has been the same for hundreds of years, but I don’t think there should be any limits to what you can really wear there. Visually, you see me wearing a Ferrari jacket and the jacket is no different from having a sweater. I’m a Ferrari fan, I love their work and it made sense to go to the golf course with it.

PGATOUR.COM: Now that you’ve seen all of these things in golf over the past few years, what were some of your misconceptions about golf that you now view differently?

KYLE KUZMA: I was always scared to go to a class because I thought it was really serious, but when I go out and play with my friends, we’re really out there drinking and we’re have fun. Sometimes it’s just going there to get away from it all, get away from your personal life, hang out and have a little fun and talk to people.

PGATOUR.COM: What are your long-term goals in golf, especially because I’m sure you’re competitive with some of those NBA guys you mentioned?

KYLE KUZMA: If I can be in my 40s and almost suck, I think that’s a good goal here.

PGATOUR.COM: I’ll spell this Skratch on paper.

KYLE KUZMA: No pun intended, by the way.