Apr 15, 2024

A Golfer's Story from Rock Bottom to Recovery with Charlie Beljan

mental hurdles of golf on the course podcast tournament golf


In a recent episode of the T-Time with Tori podcast, professional golfer Charlie Beljan opened up about his struggles with addiction and his remarkable journey to sobriety. Tori, the host, engaged Charlie in a candid conversation that shed light on the challenges he faced both on and off the golf course.

The Downward Spiral

Charlie's addiction began at a young age, with his first experience of getting drunk in eighth grade. As his golfing career progressed, so did his drinking habits. He found himself hanging out with older guys who liked to party, and soon enough, alcohol became an integral part of his life.


"I started when I was 15, so I had been rocking for a long time." - Charlie Belgian


Despite his growing addiction, Charlie managed to excel in junior golf. He won the prestigious US Junior Amateur Championship, which propelled his golfing career to new heights. However, as he began to play professionally, the pressures of the game and the constant travel took a toll on his mental health.

The PGA Tour: A Double-Edged Sword

Charlie's rookie season on the PGA Tour was a rollercoaster ride. He secured a win early on, but it was also the beginning of his battle with anxiety and panic attacks. The pressures of being in the spotlight and the expectations to perform consistently weighed heavily on him.


To cope with the stress, Charlie turned to alcohol and drugs. He found himself drinking excessively after rounds, often ordering three or four drinks at a time to catch up with his peers. The tour's sponsor events, which were essentially cocktail parties, only fueled his addiction further.


"I was the guy that was there until the last person. And the tour loved me for that because I was there and, you know, entertaining and doing that. But it just started to spiral." - Charlie Belgian


Hitting Rock Bottom

As Charlie's addiction spiraled out of control, his golf game suffered. He would often quit tournaments after a poor first round, choosing to party instead of facing the challenges on the course. His relationship with golf became a love-hate affair, with his attitude towards the game directly tied to his performance.


The turning point came during the Sedona Open at Oak Creek Country Club. After a night of heavy drinking, Charlie found himself on the course, struggling to control his shaking hands. He hit all 18 greens but had 13 three-putts, a testament to the toll his addiction was taking on his game.


"I've said it a million times, but I'm like, I gotta make a change." - Charlie Belgian


The Road to Recovery

Returning home from the Sedona Open, Charlie had a heart-to-heart with his wife. She gave him an ultimatum, asking him to choose between their relationship and his addiction. For Charlie, this was the wake-up call he needed.


He threw himself into sobriety, determined to turn his life around. Unlike his mother, who found solace in AA meetings, Charlie chose to navigate his journey on his own. He immersed himself in educational content about sobriety, going for long walks while listening to podcasts and videos on the topic.



Finding Joy in Sobriety

As Charlie embraced sobriety, he discovered a newfound love for golf. He began to appreciate the game for what it was, enjoying the architecture of the courses and the challenge of each shot. His focus shifted from the outcome to the process, and he found himself playing better than ever before.


"Now I love the game. Back then I did the game because one, that's all I knew how to do. Two, it was a great career path. And three, I was good at it." - Charlie Belgian


Sobriety also brought about a change in Charlie's priorities. He became a more present father, attending his son's practices and games, and cherishing the time he spent with his family. The relationships he had with his close friends deepened, and he learned the value of listening and being there for others.


Sharing His Story

Today, Charlie is passionate about sharing his story to help others who may be struggling with addiction. He mentors individuals on their own journeys to sobriety and finds joy in giving back to the community.


In addition to his mentorship, Charlie has discovered a new passion for teaching golf. He takes a unique approach to instruction, focusing on course management and the mental aspects of the game rather than just the technical swing.



Through his teaching, Charlie aims to help golfers of all levels find joy in the game and improve their performance without getting bogged down by the technicalities.

Looking to the Future

As for his own golfing career, Charlie has his sights set on the Champions Tour when he turns 50. However, he acknowledges that it will require a significant amount of work and dedication to compete at the highest level once again.


For now, Charlie is content with his life off the course. He cherishes the time he spends with his son and wife, and he continues to work on his own personal growth and sobriety.


A Message of Hope

To those who may be struggling with addiction or considering sobriety, Charlie offers these words of encouragement:


"You're literally a decision and a little bit of discipline away from completely changing your life. And when I thought about it for a decade doing it, I'm like, well, I've got this dinner to go to and I've got this function to go to, and how can I go to these and not have a drink? Well, if you have that mindset, you're just gonna continue down the path over and over. You have to take a chance and take a step." - Charlie Belgian


Charlie's story is a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and the human spirit. Through his journey, he has shown that it is possible to overcome even the darkest of challenges and emerge stronger on the other side.


Key Takeaways

- Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their talent or success

- Seeking help and support is crucial in overcoming addiction

- Sobriety can bring about a newfound appreciation for life and passions

- Sharing one's story can inspire and help others who may be struggling

- It's never too late to make a change and turn your life around


As Charlie continues to inspire others with his story and his passion for golf, we can all take a page from his book and strive to live our lives with purpose, gratitude, and a commitment to personal growth.


Tune in to listen to the full episode of T-Time with Tori featuring Charlie Beljan.


Connect with Charlie: 


Connect with us on your favorite social platform:

Subscribe to our FREE Female Golfer Facebook Group:

First T Crew [Behind the Scenes of Women’s Golf]


Get in touch!










Be sure you are subscribed to our podcast to automatically receive the NEW episodes weekly!!!