Sometimes, when Jayson Tatum goes to KOHR Golf Center, he brings along Boston Celtics teammate Grant Williams.
The sophomore forward was among those who Tatum actually could get to accompany him for a round while teams were quarantined at the NBA’s Walt Disney World bubble.
Tatum would FaceTime his private golf instructor, Daniel Boisvert, who watched Kemba Walker and Williams hit balls and gave them feedback.
“Grant showed a little bit more interest, and as soon as they got back from the bubble he came in and had a few sessions,” Boisvert, the director of golf instruction at KOHR Golf Center, told NESN.com. “He’s potentially one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Despite that, Williams has no problem getting into Tatum’s ear during lessons, and Boisvert says the trash talk is legendary when the duo is together at the Natick, Mass. facility.
“Grant is a little more raw so he can’t quite get on Jayson as much as he wants to yet, but they?re funny when they’re together,” Boisvert said.
“There were some jabs thrown to Jayson about Bam (Adebayo) playing a little more aggressive in the playoffs which I was cracking up at, and I know Jayson was cracking up too. The two of them just ham it up. Anytime they’re together they’re laughing.”
Despite all the fun, Tatum still is taking his game seriously. He wouldn’t be working with Boisvert if he wasn’t.
“He’s too competitive to come to me to unwind,’ Boisvert joked of the 22-year-old All-NBA star.
Boisvert has one of the cooler jobs in the world, if you’re into golf and Boston sports.
At his state of the art golf practice facility, he and his business partner Bill McInerney have gotten to hit balls with athletes like Tom Brady, and even coached the quarterback’s sons, Jack and Benny, up to a level where they could play with their dad.
“It?s fun,” Boisvert told NESN. “We get to kind of chat with a lot of good players, good athletes and you know, I’ve been a diehard New England fan since the day I was born so it’s always cool for me to get to meet a lot of those guys.”
He rattles off having Jackie Bradley Jr. and Boston Bruins players like Tuukka Rask, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy out to the facility KOHR opened up three years ago. But as suggested by Boisvert’s Instagram account, the list goes on and on.
On a more typical day, he trains young golfers with aspirations to play elite golf in an incredible space that offers just about everything you could ever want to take your skill to the next level.
Still, he says Tatum’s development and work ethic has impressed him more than of any of the professional athletes he’s worked with.
“I’ve never seen someone improve as quickly as him who had no background at all in golf,” Boisvert said. “He went pretty much from not being able to get the ball into the air to being able to make a few pars every nine holes, and every once in a while, make a birdie. He just has a very good sense of motion. He has a very good understanding of how he moves.”
Tatum’s stepfather, Jake Barnes, has worked with Boisvert essentially since the family arrived in Boston, and Tatum took a few lessons at KOHR back then so he could play with Barnes.
But only since the pandemic shutdown, and being quarantined at Disney, has Tatum really had the time to go at the sport full swing.
“Obviously right now his attention is on basketball, he lives it and breathes it,” Boisvert said of the Celtics All-Star. “But he can definitely still get better at golf while he’s dominating the NBA.”
His worst club was his driver, but now it’s his best. He consistently bombs it over 300 yards with minimal effort and his swing speed surpassed that of the PGA Tour average months ago.
In October, Boisvert posted a video on his Instagram account of Tatum recording a 332.2-yard carry off the tee. Bryson DeChambeau, who led the PGA Tour in driving last year, averaged a carry distance of 314 yards per drive in 2020.
Even all the way back in June, Tatum was using a pitching wedge from 165 yards out.
Amazing, the power you can get with about a 7-foot wingspan.
Boisvert has seen Tatum break 50 through nine holes multiple times this year, having been working more intensely with Tatum since early June.
“A guy like Jayson, he?s so good at what he does that he can have expectations in terms of how he expects himself to perform,” Boisvert said. “The issue is, if he puts those expectations on himself too early with golf, he?s not going to enjoy it. He won?t. He?ll get upset, he?ll get angry. He?s very mellow but he has a lot of fire. He does not want to hit a bad shot just like he doesn?t want to have a bad basketball game so for me, I try to get these guys to understand the process.”
With professional athletes, Boisvert says it’s easier to get them to understand that process.
Ever since Tatum has bought in, and whenever he does a session at KOHR in a pair of Jordans with joggers tucked into his white mid-calf socks, he is working toward an invitation to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“That?s our goal, the AT&T Pebble Beach plan,” Boisvert said of the celebrity tournament for charity scheduled for February 2021.
“We’ve discussed that. Pebble Beach is one of the most incredible places in the whole world, and he’s got to get there regardless. So he might as well play in it.”