Legends: Practice made difference for Kangas-Brody

L’ANSE – It’s often been said that practice makes the difference in the world of sports.

Jenn Kangas-Brody wouldn’t disagree with that.

The former L’Anse High standout is still the only golfer from the Copper Country area to play professionally on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.

In a recent interview, she said she worked hard on her game.

“No question about it, I spent countless hours out there (on the course),” she said recently. “Most of them were at the L’Anse Golf Course.”

To this day, she remains very involved in the sport of golf. She is the pro shop manager at Warwick Hills Golf Course in downstate Grand Blanc, where her husband, Doug, is the PGA pro.

In addition, she and her husband own and operate Brody’s Golf Shop. The couple have two children, 11-year-old Kate and 9-year-old Tyler, who are active in numerous sports.

Both already shoot in the 40s on the golf course.

“There isn’t a lot of idle time in a day,” she noted. “Between the job at the course and getting the kids to their activities, there isn’t much time.”

Growing up in L’Anse, Jenn and her two sisters had similar sports backgrounds.

Jenn competed in golf, volleyball and basketball for the Purple Hornets. She said the latter sport was “my favorite one.”

“I really enjoyed basketball,” she said. “But golf was the sport I eventually gravitated toward.”

She said her father Larry had her swinging a golf club at the age of four, and she practiced almost daily with cousins Jimmer and Gus. Gus is currently the assistant women’s golf coach at Miami, Fla.

After gaining medalist honors at the U.P. finals in her junior and senior seasons, Kangas was named All-State. She was soon recruited by Michigan State University.

She had a solid career in East Lansing and gained All Big Ten honors by finishing fourth in the conference finals as a senior.

Spartans’ coach Mary Fossum said Kangas showed potential early on.

“She always worked hard … and has the skills to play at the next level,” Fossum commented in 1996.

The former LHS standout attracted major attention by winning the Michigan Women’s Open in 1996. She had captured the U.P. Women’s Open in 1993.

She qualified for the LPGA Future Tour by placing 19th out of 140 golfers at the qualifying tourney in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Sponsored by Russ Osterman of Baraga, she spent seven years on the tour, two of those on the main tour. In that time, she won four Futures events.

In her first outing on the main LPGA Tour, she finished 13th and in the money at the Hawaiian Ladies Open.

“I had the chance to meet some great people and compete against the best golfers,” she said. “But the travel time was exhausting and I decided to try something else.”

That proved to be spending more time on her marriage and to raising a family.

“I’ve never had any regrets about playing pro,” she said. “It was a great experience.”

Kangas-Brody tries to get back to the U.P. as often as possible and usually gets in a few rounds at the L’Anse course.

“The U.P. is still home to me and our kids really like it up here,” she added.