Have you ever considered becoming a professional golfer? Here are the top 3 things I learned while playing golf at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that I applied to my Symetra tour season this year. Each of these were helpful in my path to earning my LPGA Tour card for 2016.
- Being self-sufficient is my go to answer as one of the most important things I learned in college and now apply to my professional golf career. I have to be able to handle new situations and the unknown as I travel, much like I did when I left home for college.
- Speaking specifically to golf I would say you must learn your swing and become the master of your swing. This includes the ins, the outs, your tendencies, your strengths, where you get your power, etc. and then be able to communicate this to others. As awkward as it was for me, my swing coach would have me tell others what we were working on in my swing – whether it was my college coach, my teammate, or a random person hitting balls next to me on the driving range. This allowed me to fully understand what we were working on and then allowed me to voice it so when my coach wasn’t there I knew ways to fix my swing.
- I played 24 tournaments this season and I had to rely on myself as I did not travel with a caddie or swing coach to most events. I had to reach back to what I learned in college about owning my game and then apply this on tour every week. Self sufficiency leads to confidence and college gave me time to grow in that confidence.
2. Have a Learner's Mindset
- I feel like I have heard the term learner’s mindset since I first picked up a golf club at the age of 12. I do not think I fully understood the meaning of this term until I started striving for a college scholarship and then during my time in college also. This is one of my swing coach’s favorite terms and it has become one of mine as well. It is so much more than just a term though; it is just what it says – a mindset you have to have to succeed at high levels in this game. It takes skill and hard work to earn a college scholarship, but then you have to learn to take it a step further and be open to new shots, new practice routines, new workout regimens, and ultimately new ways to become a better golfer. Look at all the different professional golfers on the PGA and the LPGA. No two are the same. There are many ways to be a great golfer and you have to be open to learning new techniques until you find what strategy works best for you. You have to be open to learning in general. This sport can never be mastered – there is always something to learn. When you believe that, you will gain strokes off the course before even teeing it up.
3. Practice with a Purpose
- I’m sure most competitive golfers have heard this concept before – quality is better than quantity. A few hours of solid practice can serve you better than spending all day at the course not committed to getting better. I learned in college to be fully committed during practice and I experienced the need to have purposeful practice at the highest level this past year. About half way through the season I started fighting a wrist injury. At this point during the year I had been playing well and knew that finishing in the top 10 and earning my LPGA card was within my reach if I finished strong. Lots of practice was doing more harm than good and it became a balance of saving as many swings for the tournament days as possible. Knowing how to have complete focus during the time I could practice allowed me to be just as successful at the end of the season as I was at the beginning.
College golf was a stepping stone that allowed me to learn these three tools that I continue to use while playing professionally. Keep these tips in mind when you are working towards your goals on and off the golf course!