Rising media star Hendry named first Ron Balicki Memorial Scholarship recipient
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Luke Hendry is the first-ever recipient of the Ron Balicki Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an applicant who shows great journalism skills, a passion for golf and also displays the values that Balicki practiced daily. Hendry, a journalism major at the University of Texas, was awarded the inaugural scholarship in January of this year.
Born and raised in Boerne, Texas, just a few minutes north of San Antonio, Hendry aspired to be a force in media from a young age. Beginning when he was just 8 years old, he would take his father’s sports coat and tie and record his own version of his favorite TV show — SportsCenter.
He grew up looking up to anchors such as Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott when he was not playing golf at Cordillera Ranch. Hendry always knew he wanted to pursue a career in golf media as he recorded his first Masters show at just 9 years old.
Fast forward to his freshman year at the University of Texas when Hendry had the opportunity to be a camera assistant for the Golf Channel’s coverage of the WGC Dell Match Play tournament held in Austin. His mentor, Kevin Robbins, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas, has played a key role in helping Hendry be successful in the media world. It is Robbins who has led Hendry to water, but Hendry has been the one taking the initiative to consume the lessons he was shown.
"He’s an incredibly poised guy," Robbins said.
He went on to discuss how Hendry carries himself with grace without being arrogant. Hendry is a sponge when it comes to learning the craft of broadcasting. He has already interviewed two premier on-air talents, Rich Learner and Notah Begay. They may seem intimidating for a college kid to interview, but not for Hendry. He spoke to both for an assignment in Robbins’ class.
When asked how he tries to live every day, one word immediately came to Hendry's mind — intensity. "I try to live very intensely," Hendry said.
Hendry is competitive in all facets of life, which is why he tries to embody a level of intensity each and every day. This past summer, he interned with the Texas Golf Association. There, he wrote for the TGA, assisted with their social media and also helped run tournaments.
Mark Button, the communications director for the TGA, was Hendry’s boss this past summer. Button describes Hendry as a highly motivated individual with a high golf IQ. "He’s like a mini Jim Nantz."
Early on in the summer Button and Hendry played a round of golf together to get to know each other. Hendry was playing well (3 or 4 under through 9) but started to stumble towards the end of the round. Button recalls that around the 13th hole, Hendry was in some trees after a sliced tee shot. Hendry had already lost a couple of balls on the back side and went to retrieve a ball from his bag, but to his horror, he came to the realization that he left his last box of balls at home.
"I tossed him a brand new ProV out of my bag, he took a drop and [proceeded to] hit his shot into the water," Button said through a laugh. "I’m sure he was embarrassed but we look back and laugh at it now." Hendry found an old range ball in a creek and finished his round out.
Hendry currently works for Spectrum News in Austin as an intern. He covers local sports, including the San Antonio Spurs, UT athletics and high school athletics. On top of the Dell Match Play, Hendry worked with Golf Channel again this past winter as a production assistant for an upcoming film about Ben Hogan.
"I did anything they needed me to do," said Hendry. He spent four days in Dallas with the small crew helping with everything from research to lighting. The film airs the Sunday night of the Masters, April 8, on Golf Channel.
"I’ve enjoyed pursuing this," Hendry said. "I always love what I do and I look forward to continuing on this path."
Hendry is a rising star in the golf media world. His passion for the game of golf as well as the art of broadcasting shines brighter than stars in a Texas night sky. He’s a very well-versed and articulate young man. He’s always willing to learn and never afraid to ask for help. Both the world of golf and broadcasting should consider themselves lucky to have such a bright and eager person to continue the legacy of Ron Balicki, as well as build his own legacy.
Balicki means a lot to Hendry. "His dedication to college golf is admirable," Hendry said. Hendry went on to say that Balicki was never in it for himself — he wanted the subjects of his work to be the stars and the game of golf to be the blank sky for them to project themselves onto.
Balicki helped grow the game and helped give amateur golf the recognition it deserves. When asked what being the first recipient of the scholarship means to him, Hendry said he was "humbled and honored."
The legacy left by Ron Balicki is a beautiful one. Balicki is not remembered just by the stories he wrote, but the lives he touched. Although Balicki is gone, his memory and legacy will continue as long as there are people like Luke Hendry around the wonderful game of golf.
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