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Mark Burden’s golf life includes ACC golden era, golf dad, senior circuit

Mark Burden’s golf life includes ACC golden era, golf dad, senior circuit

Mark Burden’s bag of “it’s a small world” golf stories includes some doozies. Part of it might be that Burden has a better eye for detail than most – a better recall, a more sincere appreciation, certainly a deeper knowledge of the game (especially at the amateur level) – but the stories are still tremendous.

Once a small-town Midwestern kid, then an ACC golfer and now a Northwestern Mutual financial adviser who can drop into a national senior amateur event seemingly effortlessly, Burden has touched all parts of golf, from competitor to golf dad. And he still reveres the game, albeit from his corner of the world – i.e., the Atlanta metro.

At 67, Burden is unlikely to log many miles or hotel nights for senior golf, but when it comes near his Atlanta home, Burden is in the mix. He skipped the practice round at Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta before the Golfweek Super Senior, Legends & Super Legends National Championship, but in Tuesday’s first round, he birdied his first three holes. He was still 3 under after 12 and leading the Super Senior division.

“I was concentrating really well,” Burden said. “I was in it and I was thinking and I wasn’t overthinking.”

Scores: Golfweek Super Senior, Legends and Super Legends National Championship

Burden thinks he lost that thought process on the 13th tee, where he proceeded to dunk his tee shot in the water, hit the next one long and miss a 4-footer for double bogey. He followed up the triple with two more bogeys and ended his day with 2-over 74, two shots behind division leader Emile Vaughan.

“I’m an interloper on this senior circuit,” Burden joked, noting his lack of national starts.

Find Burden in Georgia State Golf Association events – he made the match-play bracket at the Super Senior Match Play in April – or anything else in the greater metro area, like next week’s Crabapple Senior Invitational, a four-ball event at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

“It’s like studying for a test,” he said of trying to keep his game sharp while still devoting energy to work and other parts of his life. “You’re trying to figure out how much time you can devote to not only this but other things and it be as efficient as possible.”

Burden’s roots are in Clinton, Iowa, a city of 25,000 people on the Iowa-Illinois border. He learned to play with his dad and older brother, Joe, who went on to a standout career at the University of Illinois as the younger Burden watched…


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