Then came celebrity, national interviews for TV and magazines and, in 2015, spots on Golf Channel’s serial reality show, “Big Break: The Palm Beaches,” with a chance for each to win cash, prizes and a berth in the field at a PGA Tour event.
All because of YouTube — and some previously unidentified talents for hitting golf trick shots.
The brothers enjoyed their “Big Break” debut, which aired Feb. 2, 2015, but their names had already spread far and wide via social media. The Bryans learned golf from their father, George III, a Chapin-based pro/instructor who uses visual prompts, such as hitting shots down narrow alleys of trees, to hone their games.
“Then we saw an article in The State (newspaper of Columbia) about a couple of guys on YouTube who pulled off some trick shots,” Wesley Bryan, 24, said. “The shots didn’t look that hard, so we started messing around with them, and we were able to pull them off, too.”
The brothers videoed their performances and quicker than you can say, “Hit and Duck” (the name of one of their routines), they were social-media sensations, after which mainstream media jumped in. “Golf Channel, Golf Digest, Golf.com, pga.com, CNN,” George IV, 27, says as he recalls interviews. “Pretty much every major golf media outlet has done something on us, so we’re kind of lucky with that.”
Besides instant publicity, the videos didn’t hurt their quest to get on “Big Break.” The call from Golf Channel came in September 2014, and they spent two weeks in West Palm Beach, Florida, shooting the 12-week series.
Bios: George IV: Competed 2006–10 for the Gamecocks, earning All-SEC and All-America honors; helped lead Dutch Fork High to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 state high school championship; helped USC to four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Wesley: Competed 2008–12 for the Gamecocks, earning All-SEC freshman honors; led Dutch Fork High to runner-up honors in 2007 and a state title in 2008; helped USC to three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Highlights: George IV: Won the Jay Haas Award as SC junior golfer of the year in 2005; competed in the 2005 British Amateur; reached match play in the US Amateur and competed in the US Junior.
Wesley: Earned six letters at Dutch Fork; won the state Class 4A individual title in 2007 and 2008; led Dutch Fork to a state title in 2008 and runner-up in 2007; competed in the US Amateur and US Amateur Public Links.
Where I play: “In Columbia, I have to put The Members Club at Woodcreek and WildeWood in there; that’s my home course, a great layout and a lot of fun to play. I love Cobblestone Park, too. At the beach, I would go with the Surf Club in North Myrtle; I won a tournament there and it’s always in great shape; not too hard or too easy, it can be difficult but not too long. I love the Country Club of Charleston, and Camden Country Club is the same way; I’m an old-school fan, so that resonates with me. I like to play Harbour Town Golf Links and Belfair West at Hilton Head; I can play Belfair every day of my life. And Northwoods gets a bad rap but layout-wise, it’s as much fun as any course in the state.” (Note: Northwoods is undergoing renovation to correct conditioning issues.)
Where I eat: “I’m really not a local restaurant guy. I go to Cookout, Subway; I couldn’t name you a (local restaurant) anywhere. I’m about quick and easy. I like barbecue, and there’s four of them I like, but I don’t know their names. Sorry.”
What I do for fun: “The trick-shot thing has become a hobby for us. I enjoy going to movies, and spending time at the beach; Folly Beach is cool. You just float and relax, and then I’m done. Charleston is great for a day to hang out. At home, I play video games like a nerd, and basketball, football, pingpong. And I’m crazy about any and all things Gamecocks athletics: basketball and football, but baseball is No. 1 by far.”
Where I play: “Well, my home course is The Members Club, and it’s awesome to me, in my top five anywhere. Sage Valley (Graniteville) is great. I’ve never played The Ocean Course (Kiawah Resort) but from what I hear, it would be in my top five, too. Colleton River in Bluffton, the Dye Course, is awesome. Myrtle Beach for some reason doesn’t strike home with me. Palmetto Golf Club (Aiken) is another awesome old course, I love that place. Belfair (Bluffton) is also on my list. And I played quite a bit of junior golf at Harbour Town; we’d stay in a condo near the first tee so we could get out and play a lot.”
Where I eat: “There’s a hole-in-the-wall Japanese place, great hibachi, called Mikino’s. That’s my No. 1. My favorite downtown (Columbia) place is Pawleys Front Porch. There’s some good places in Charleston; I really like Charleston Crab House and the King Street Grill. Oh, and Shealy’s (Batesburg-Leesville); we frequently make hour-long drives for the best barbecue, and that’s definitely my favorite BBQ.”
What I do for fun: “Edisto Beach is the No. 1 vacation spot for me and my wife. We go twice a year. I’ll stop at the driving range there, put a dollar in the bucket and hit balls. The beach is nice if it’s not too crowded, and we look for sharks’ teeth. That’s our No. 1 destination. Funny thing: I’ve hit wedges at The Plantation Course there, but I’ve never played it.”