“What separates a good player from an excellent player is the mindset. “
At NVO, we encourage our young golf talents to express themselves and value their voices.
They bring a fresh perspective to the sport and contribute to its evolution. While golf was traditionally considered a male-dominated sport, times have changed.
Let’s explore the thoughts, visions, and opinions of our young talents.
Join us as we prepare to relaunch our golf clothes brand for men SLIGO and meet Andy Mac, a young golfer who qualified for the Canadian Junior Boys Championship. He shares valuable tips to improve your game and have the best time on the course!
Who is Andy Mac?
Andy is a 15-year-old golfer who qualified for the Canadian Junior Boys Championship, presented by BDO, from 13 to 17 August 2023 at North Bay Golf & Country Club in North Bay, Ontario.
Immersed in golf since the age of 5, Andy became the first Quebecer to qualify for the Drive, Chip and Putt tournament in Georgia, winning the putting category at 11 years old.
At 12 years old, he won a provincial tournament in Drummondville in the 11–12 category. And when he was 14, he won the 2022 tournament in Barrie, Ontario.
Meet a young golf prodigy who knows what he wants and gets inspiration from the greatest.
Hi Andy. Congratulations on your selection for the Canadian Junior Boys Championship! How are you feeling?
I feel the same at tournaments as I do now and prepare in the same way. I’m neither more nor less nervous.
But it’s my first Canadian Championship so I’m excited because I’m playing with the best players in Canada.
I know what to expect, I know that I must play well to play the 4 rounds because there’s a break after two rounds. So, I have to qualify for the first 2.
I’ll prepare as I do for every tournament then we’ll see what happens.
How do you prepare for your tournaments?
When I finish a tournament, I know what I need to work on and concentrate on, and what skills I need to improve.
I practise the things I’m not so good at.
I also rest because fatigue and travelling can affect performance.
Is there anything specifically that you do to relax and clear your mind?
Strangely enough, practising relaxes me.
What made you decide to become a golfer?
I believe it was the competitions. Initially, I was only doing it for fun.
I started playing soccer when I was 4 or 5, then I took up golf after that. It’s really in the last few years that I’ve taken it seriously, especially with competitions, and I can see that I’m improving.
I love the physical and mental aspects of the sport.
What’s more, it’s an individual sport. The responsibility is yours and you can’t blame anyone but yourself, and I like that.
Can you tell us about some of your greatest achievements in golf?
I was proud at the tournament in Georgia.
There weren’t many of us who qualified, and I was the first Quebecer to qualify for this tournament, which has been running for about 5–10 years. It was a real thrill to represent Quebec for the first time.
What do you think sets you apart from other young golfers?
I believe it’s my positive attitude.
Golf can be frustrating. You have control of the ball, but a single bad shot can throw you off track.
In soccer, missing a goal doesn’t mean losing the game. However, in golf, every shot counts. At the end of a tournament, just one shot over 4 days can determine if you win or lose.
My attitude sets me apart because, even if I get angry, I’m not aggressive after a bad shot. I calm down quickly.
I have a lot of patience. The two things I enjoy doing most are fishing and golf. And both require a lot of patience.
What are your goals for the next Canadian Junior Boys Championship
My first goal is to make the cut after two rounds. Then we’ll see. We’ll take it one shot at a time. I want to play as well as I can.
What have been some of your favourite challenges when it comes to perfecting your skills on the green?
As in any sport and in life, there are ups and downs. The lows help us get to the highs.
Last year, there was a period when I wasn’t playing well and it’s thanks to that that I’m starting to play better.
At the qualifying championship for the Canadian Championship, I didn’t play well in the first round, and I knew why. However, I played better in the next two rounds, but if I hadn’t played badly at the start, I wouldn’t have made the last two rounds.
It was my weaknesses that made me stronger. I learnt from my mistakes and improved. That’s what I love about it. You can always pick yourself up again in a tournament.
Earlier you were talking about your attitude and the patience you have. I realise that you have a certain ability to assess yourself quickly too…
When I’m not doing well, I remind myself that there are other opportunities ahead. I shouldn’t give up because who knows what the next day will bring!
Golf is bipolar. The first day can be difficult but the second can be one of the best rounds you’ve played in your life. You just never know.
And that’s why you play golf, because you never know when you’ll play the round of your life.
Are there any tips you’ve picked up along the way that you think could help other new golfers learn faster and more effectively?
Always think about the moment.
Golf can be challenging, and sometimes you may hit a bad shot or make a mistake. But remember, it’s important to let it go and stay focused on the game.
Tiger Woods said “The next shot is the most important shot of your life. It should be more important than breathing. “
As soon as you hit the ball, you have to forget about that shot and concentrate on the next one because that’s the one that counts. You can’t change the past. And you mustn’t think too much about the future.
Some people make a good shot and think “oh I played well; I’ll be able to play the next one”. Their mind isn’t strong enough to concentrate on the present moment and the shot that needs to be played at that moment. And that can affect their game.
Are there any strategies or techniques that you concentrate on when you’re training?
When you’ve got a base and you’re at a certain level in your field, I think what’ll make you progress faster is how you feel mentally.
Anyone who plays golf well and has a good base can hit good shots. But what differentiates a good player from an excellent player is the mindset.
Being comfortable and confident in your abilities.
Also, when you’re playing with your friends, you’re relaxed and comfortable, and you tend to play better because you’re less stressed, unlike competitions, which create pressure.
What are your tips for working on your mindset and confidence?
Put yourself in a competitive context, even when you’re playing with your friends or in a tournament. Set yourself a goal and play for something.
That way, you put yourself under pressure and, paradoxically, putting yourself in that situation makes you learn more.
So, the next time you’re in a similar situation, you remember what you did wrong before so you can correct it.
As an athlete, it’s important to feel good, flexible and confident, so that you can focus on your game. How do you choose your golf clothes, and what are your tips for choosing them well?
I choose something that looks good and appeals to me.
Then, I look for clothes with thin, breathable material because it gets hot when you’re playing golf.
Sometimes it can be 35 °C. You need something that breathes and wicks moisture, whether it’s for tops and bottoms.
Golf used to be seen as a sport only for men. Do you think that’s changing?
There are a few more men playing golf, but more and more women are taking it up.
During the pandemic, it became one of the few sports you could enjoy without restrictions. It’s an individual, outdoor activity that doesn’t involve contact with others.
It has increased the number of players, both men and women.
The prize money for golf professionals is increasing on the women’s tours, sometimes by several million dollars compared with the previous year. So, it’s starting to generate more money. The women’s league is starting to get more support.
Men are making more money but it’s becoming more equitable.
Thank you, Andy, for your time and good luck at the Canadian Championship!
Do you know any other young female or male golf talents you’d like us to interview? Let us connect with them!