He was in it to win it. Ian Milne recently won the Stryker Club Championship with a score of 136, completing a sweep of all four Fort Bragg golf majors — the Fort Bragg Invitational, Ryder Invitational, Ryder Club Championship and Stryker Club Championship.
It is the first time a golfer has won all four tournaments in their seven years as a series, said Jeff Johnson, director of golf, Stryker Golf Course.
Johnson said Milne’s Tiger Woods-like feat is especially impressive because of the skilled roster that participated in the tournaments.
“With the talented golfers that we have here, it’s hard to imagine that one person could go out and win all four (tournaments) in one season, let alone win all four in your lifetime,” he said. “To win them all in one season is a feat that I don’t know will be accomplished again.”
Milne said his goal at the beginning of the tournament season was to win all four majors. He has previous, large-scale tournament experience from his years as an All-American member of the Fayetteville State University golf team.
While at FSU, Milne won two individual national championships and three team national championships.
Before attending college, Milne was a single Soldier living in Fort Bragg barracks. He said he began playing golf at Stryker Golf Course for something to do in his free time.
Although he had played golf sporadically during his youth, Milne said he became passionate about it when he began playing at Stryker.
“While other guys were out there doing other things, I was out there golfing,” he said.
Milne said he learned on his own without lessons, and Johnson credits Milne’s exceptional golf game to natural talent.
“Things come naturally to him,” Johnson said.
“When you watch individuals hit golf balls, there’s just a difference. (With) golfers, you can tell when somebody hits it — tour quality versus a good amateur. Different sound, different way it looks coming off the club.”
The strongest aspect of Milne’s golf game is his strength when hitting the driver, according to both Milne and Johnson.
“I hit it far enough to where it’s kind of a weapon,” said Milne. “I know when I get on the tee box, most likely, I’m going to hit the fairway with a good enough distance that it’s going to aid me from that point on.”
Milne returned to the Army after college and currently serves in the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion. He said his experiences in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School have elevated his golf game.
“Just the training that was there, you have to stay mentally in it, I feel like it definitely helped,” he said.
The difficulty of the game is what keeps Milne coming back. He said he enjoys the challenge of trying to play as well, or better, than the day before.
Milne hopes his love of the game will help him continue his golf career and said he wants to play on the All-Army Golf Team and qualify for the U.S. Open or U.S. Amateur Golf Championship.
Family is Milne’s greatest inspiration. He said his son Caleb, who is now 8 years old, began “playing” golf at a young age.
“He was swinging a club at 6 or 7 months,” said Milne of his son. “He would stand up and hit little plastic balls in the house.”
Caleb now joins his dad at the golf course, and although his son currently plays several sports, Milne hopes he will eventually choose golf as his main activity.
“It’s one of those sports where if you’re good, it’s on you and you don’t have to rely on a team,” Milne said.
Milne hopes his dedication to golf sets an example for his son.
“I want to show him that if you try hard at something and put your time in, you can achieve things.”