In the summer of 2012, Austin Picinich attended his first class with The First Tee of Greater Seattle. He was just 7 years old, bright-eyed and eager to learn about the game of golf. Over the years, Austin applied himself and worked his way through the different levels of the program. Now age 14 and with “Eagle” status, Austin represents a small group of participants who are advanced their mastery of golf and life skills.
Austin has made friends, impressed his coaches, competed in chapter tournaments like the Week 9 Championship, was selected as a PGA Junior League team captain and All-Star, and also serves as a volunteer junior coach for younger students.
Austin demonstrating his coaching skills at Willows Run Golf Complex in 2018.
Austin always volunteers to post the daily lesson on the class board. With that handwriting, no one objects!
Austin playing on and coaching his PGA Junior League team in 2016.
Austin is an ambitious young man, and has many talents. When he isn’t playing or teaching golf, his other true passion is art. He likes to create landscapes, people, wildlife… and occasionally golf scenes!
This year, Austin decided to take on a new challenge, and one that would combine his passions for golf, art, and The First Tee program. To commemorate his love for the program, and to display for future generations to come, Austin set out to paint a mural at Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course, where he first learned to play. Painting a mural is no small task, and it took Austin several months and many hours of hard work to complete.
On Friday, November 8th, Austin proudly hung his finished piece of work on the wall at Crossroads Par-3. And for decades and generations to come, families and young golfers will be inspired by his masterpiece.
Here is a brief Q&A with the artist, Austin Picinich:
What inspired you to create this mural?
I was inspired to create this mural because artwork is an excellent tool to brighten up an environment. Several years ago, a First Tee coach planted the seed of “Wouldn’t it be cool to paint a mural at Crossroads?” I loved the idea, but the project seemed really big at the time. As time went by the idea stuck in my head, and I just had to figure out how to make it work. While measuring the workspace, the idea came to me of painting the mural on a large sheet of plywood as opposed to the wall itself. This made the project seem more realistic that I could paint it at home instead of spending 50+ hours at the pro shop to paint. I have always loved to paint big, and I thought the bigger the better for this project.
How did you get interested in art?
I have been interested in art since a young age, and I began to paint when I was about seven years old. I have been inspired by many artists along the way, and love to attend art festivals and galleries. In my work I merge realism with my imagination and add my own twist of brighter colors that make the subject pop.
How are painting/art similar to golf?
Art and painting are similar to golf in many ways. Both art and golf involve visualizing the desired outcome and being creative of how to execute the plan. When I hit a shot into the lip of a bunker or under a tree, I must be creative of how I want to play the shot. This is similar to how creativity plays a big role in the planning of a painting.
What is your hope for the legacy of this mural?
My hope for the legacy of this mural is that it will inspire other kids to tackle projects or goals they think too big to accomplish.
Austin lives in Kirkland, Washington and is currently a freshman at Juanita High School. He is pictured here with his dad, Greg, battalion Chief with the Kirkland Fire Department. Austin can usually be found in school, at the golf course, or creating new artwork.
Check out Austin’s full gallery of art on his website: www.austinsart.net.