Golf and Music: My Two Passions

by John Patek

December in Wisconsin is usually cold. Like any of the thousands of golf fans in The Badger State, I count the days until May when I am certain to be back on the course.

August is hot and humid and there are just three or four trees on the course at Erin Hills. As I walk up the 17th fairway my mind often wanders for a moment to the melodies of Brahms or Beethoven and I wish it was a violin on my shoulder instead of two golf bags.

So many of my friends and coworkers have found that one thing that they are truly passionate about, yet I am torn between two beautiful and challenging worlds. In 2017, I had the privilege to play Irish Fiddle at three different parties during the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. This June and July, I returned to Switzerland where I frequently work as a classical violinist.

In the midst of my ninth season as a caddie at Erin Hills, I have seen almost every inch of the golf course, I have met kind and interesting people from all over the state of Wisconsin and all corners of the world and I have worked with some of the best people in the golf industry.

As a violinist I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the greatest conductors in the world, performed across the United States and Europe and taught students who remind me every day the joy that music can bring. In the 6 months that Erin Hills is closed, I play as a substitute with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has inspired me since I was a child and continues to do so today. Whether playing the music from Harry Potter or a Beethoven Symphony, the orchestra provides me an opportunity to work with the best of the best, which makes going to work both a challenge and a pleasure.

Here in Wisconsin, we should always remember to appreciate these rare and special gifts to the community. A public access golf course that has hosted the U.S Open®. and a world class arts organization that performs concerts of some of the most beautiful and amazing music ever written are two gifts to the world that I am proud and honored to call my workplaces.


John’s interview with FOX6 News takes a closer look at his two passions.