In some ways, Brian Reinisch's path to the PGA Tour resembles that of an ascetic wanderer: He hasn't had a job for six months, he's slept on an air mattress for close to 10 months, and he lives without Internet and television.
He even plays golf with a borrowed set of clubs.
"I've literally sold every personal item I have," Reinisch said. "I honestly just go play golf every day. It's not cheap. I've got nothing, but I'm still pursuing my dream. I went and shot a 72 at a Byron Nelson qualifier with someone else's clubs I had never even played with before."
Brian Reinisch poses with the Champion’s Plate after recording a first-place finish at the Individual Golf Tour’s Tangle Ridge tournament in Grand Prairie, Texas, on March 31. Reinisch hopes to qualify for the PGA Tour.
Lake Placid native Brian Reinisch hopes to qualify for the PGA Tour.
The Lake Placid native is swinging for the PGA Tour, and he hopes his new foundation will help others realize their dreams, too.
Reinisch, 29, has been golfing since he was young. He moved to Dallas, Texas, about four years ago and has been grinding away on the golf course ever since, trying to qualify to play on the same tour as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.
"I may have to work my way up through the Nationwide Tour, but I've been trying to Monday qualify and just play some mini-tours and raise some money and work my way up to the PGA Tour as soon as I can," Reinisch told the Enterprise.
Reinisch recently established a nonprofit called the Rhino Golf Foundation for Charity (Rhino is Reinisch's longtime nickname). The plan, he said, is to raise money through charity events, golf schools and clinics to help under-privileged youth interested in golf. Funds donated to the foundation will also help Reinisch pay for the expenses he incurs as he tries to make the tour.
The charity will start by offering financial help to aspiring young golfers in the Tri-Lakes area and Reinisch's new home in Dallas. As it grows, Reinisch hopes it will be able to spread out across the country.
"We'll have great teachers and great instruction," he said.
Reinisch was born and raised in Lake Placid. He played a lot of sports growing up and came to golf late; he was introduced to the game when he was hired to work at the Lake Placid Club.
"I was able to play golf for free as a cart boy there," Reinisch said. "I just loved it. I got the bug, and ever since then I just kind of had a natural ability for it. So I decided to pursue it and pursue tournaments as an amateur."
Reinisch graduated from Lake Placid High School in 2000 at the age of 17 and then spent a post-grad year at National Sports Academy where he played hockey and golf.
Reinisch said he owes his growth as a golfer to the courses in and around Lake Placid. He said it's hard for him to pick a favorite, although he refers to the Craig Wood Golf Club as his "home track."
"We have beautiful golf courses; there's not a bad spot to play up there," he said, "and it's also very challenging.
"I love Saranac Inn, too," Reinisch added. "Jimmy Connors and everyone out there has been nothing but nice to me over the years. Just the community in general - they're just good people."
To make the PGA Tour, Reinisch needs to raise money for himself for things like travel costs, tournament fees and other expenses. He noted that golf is a full-time job for him.
"You need to be out there eight, 10, 12 hours a day, hitting golf balls, practicing, playing," Reinisch said. "It just costs a lot of money, and it takes a lot of time. I have the talent for it, I just don't have the resources."
Reinisch said playing for sponsors, which is common among professional golfers, has been a bad experience for him.
"They take half of your money when you did all the work," he said. "It's just miserable: You're just a horse in the race. And it puts a lot of added pressure on you that you don't need that you already have pursuing the PGA Tour, because that is absolutely the best of the best.
"My life is different, and it's a battle everyday, which I expected it to be. It's really hard when the game is there but you don't have any financial resources to help you get over that hump. I just keep positive and keep plugging along."
If Reinisch makes the PGA Tour, he believes his charity organization will grow.
"I want to help as many people as I can," he said. "The higher I get on the PGA Tour, the Nationwide Tour, that's just the more exposure we get, the more money we raise and the more people we help. The sky's the limit."