Don’t sleep on Bryson Nimmer.
Sure, he may not be a big name — or a big guy. At 5 feet, 8 inches and 165 pounds, he’s hardly a physical juggernaut like that other Bryson in golf. You know, the one who is clearing fences and breaking the 400-yard barrier with some regularity. Nimmer understands the appeal, but that’s just not his style.
“I don’t know if my game’s necessarily the most exciting,” he admitted with a laugh. “I don’t hit it super far. I think that’s kind of the big thing nowadays. You know, everybody gets really excited about guys who hit it crazy far, and rightfully so. I mean, it’s a really cool thing to be able to do.”
Nimmer is fairly average in terms of driving distance, but he has accuracy: the 23-year old consistently hits his driver straight down the middle. He has a solid iron game and he says his putting has improved by leaps and bounds over the past four months.
The result so far? Two wins and a second-place finish this year on the brand new LOCALiQ Tour. Nimmer sits atop that tour’s leaderboard, with 1,419 points and a sizable lead on next-best player Carson Young (who has 747.967). He will be among the favorites going into next month’s LOCALiQ Series Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
So who is this Bryson Nimmer anyway?
From Home Runs to Tee Shots
Golf was not Nimmer’s first passion. The Bluffton, South Carolina, native started out playing baseball as a pitcher and a third baseman. As a young boy, Nimmer learned how to throw a knuckle-curve: a deceptive and unpredictable pitch that rarely sees action in professional baseball. At 13 years old, he was throwing in the low-70 mph range. That was also when he traded his bat and glove for a set of clubs.
Nimmer (bottom right) with his brother, Ty, and sister, Jordan. Dad Tony and Mom Patsy are both Clemson alumni. Provided by the PGA Tour
As the son of a former Clemson University golfer, Nimmer grew up visiting courses and driving ranges with his dad Tony. Over time, he fell in love with golf because he could practice at his own pace and on his own schedule. It wasn’t easy relinquishing baseball on the cusp of adolescence, but Nimmer does not regret doing so. He also praises his dad for granting him the freedom to choose his sport.
“I really can’t thank him enough,” Nimmer said of his father. “He did such a good job, as I’ve said before, with not forcing me into the sport. That was a really big thing, the fact that he didn’t say ‘you have to play golf’ or ‘you have to do this’. He just kind of let me decide.”
Anyone who has watched both baseball and golf may have thought to themselves that a baseball swing appears reminiscent of a golf shot, and vice versa. Nimmer learned to develop lower-body explosiveness and rotational power during his Little League days and was able to transfer those mechanics smoothly to his golf game.
Teenage Nimmer honed his craft at the local Berkeley Hall Golf Club, where his parents had a membership. He first broke par around 12 or 13 (the age he gave up baseball), but the light bulb truly came on during his junior and senior years. With various Division I schools taking notice, Nimmer pounced on the opportunity before him.
Like Father, Like Son
Nimmer is a third-generation Tiger. Along with his dad, he has a grandfather who played baseball at Clemson and an uncle who golfed there. Clemson was the dream, and Nimmer walked in with high expectations set for himself. Goal No. 1: become the ACC Freshman of the Year. Goal No. 2: earn All-ACC honors. And goal No. 3: become an All-American.
Mission accomplished. In addition to being the conference Freshman of the Year in 2016, Nimmer was a three-time First-Team All-ACC selection, a two-time Second-Team All-American and a First-Team All-American during his senior year.
Nov. 20, 2018: Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer chips out of the sand in the Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic Tuesday at the El Paso Country Club. Mark Lambie/El Paso Times
“I knew it was going to be tough because (the college level is) so much higher, and I knew it was going to be a growth process,” he said about achieving his goals. “I ended up checking pretty much all the boxes. If you put in the hard work and you have those goals and they’re attainable, then it’s really cool to see them through.”
In 2019, Nimmer began his pro career on the Mackenzie Tour, the Canadian arm of the PGA Tour. The South Carolinian made 11 starts across the country, from British Columbia and Alberta to Ontario and Nova Scotia. Nimmer made eight cuts and managed four top-25 finishes, including a T-9 performance at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open.
“I love Canada. I thought it was a really cool place,” he said. “That was actually the first time I’d ever been, and I mean, it’s just such a beautiful country. I didn’t play as well as I really wanted to up there, but it was a big learning process. I grew up playing on very different grasses and very different landscapes.”
New Goal, New Stage
As COVID-19 put golf on pause, Nimmer returned home to Bluffton and to his old stomping grounds at Berkeley Hall (which was able to remain open with health precautions in place). There, he took advantage of his newfound free time by working out and tuning up his game in ways he felt were necessary.
Around late May, Nimmer and his fellow athletes began receiving emails from tour personnel asking if they would be interested in a new series sponsored by LOCALiQ, the sales and marketing arm of Gannett Co., Inc.
Like the vast majority of his contemporaries, Nimmer jumped at the chance to play golf again.
“You know, they didn’t have more than two months to get all that put together,” he said. “People don’t realize how much goes into planning golf tournaments. There’s so many moving parts and so many things you have to get spot on. I’m very impressed by what the tour’s been able to do.”
One of those moving parts turned out to be the venue of the LOCALiQ Series Championship. Originally scheduled to take place on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, various logistical issues and health-related concerns caused tour decision-makers to move the event to TPC Sugarloaf, a private golf club in Atlanta. Nimmer doesn’t mind the championship moving closer to home, and closer to Alpharetta, Georgia (where he notched two victories in August to open the LOCALiQ season).
Ultimately, Nimmer does not plan to rest on the laurels of his college career. His latest goal — and his most ambitious one yet — is to earn his PGA Tour card. The Clemson alum plans to do whatever it takes to get there, whether it’s grinding on the Korn Ferry Tour or earning exemptions into PGA events in other ways.
At the same time, Nimmer is keeping it all in perspective. “You just realize how lucky you are to be out there,” he said in the wake of golf’s return to play. “Yeah, you’re trying to make money and support yourself as a pro, but the other side of it is just, you love to compete and you love to be out there. When you don’t get that for an extended period of time and then you finally get to do it again, you forget how much you missed it.”