Coaching spotlight: for the love of golf

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The University of Dallas hired Garrett Smith in March 2016, making him the ninth head coach of the UD golf team. Coach Smith graduated from Cameron University and went on to work at Thorntree Country Club and since 2015 has worked as an assistant golf professional at The Clubs of Prestonwood.

TF: The men’s golf team placed first at the Hendrix College Dual last Saturday. How did your team prepare for this win?

GS: We have been working hard since the beginning of season, and, like in any other sport, getting better is a process. I believe that we have targeted the right things, and we are obviously starting to see some results. I think any one of the guys on the team would be the first to say that they haven’t had their best stuff in any round yet. So it is encouraging to see some results in spite of that. We have a lot of work left to do, to get to where we ultimately want to be. But if we keep putting in this type of work we will get there.

TF: Before you came to UD, you were an assistant golf professional at The Clubs of Prestonwood. How did you wind up there after graduating from Cameron University?

GS: After graduating college, I initially took a job as an assistant golf professional at Thorntree Country Club. I took that job because it afforded me both the time and resources to dedicate myself to playing professionally. I focused the bulk of my time into practicing and playing a full schedule of professional events.

Eventually, after realizing the type of grind that this lifestyle takes on you, I settled down into more of a full-time position at the club. I worked there for a couple of years, and decided to give [playing professionally] one more go … I decided to invest everything into the attempt, and [I] made the decision to leave Thorntree and focus all of my time and efforts into just getting prepared.

While I did enjoy some success playing, I decided it wasn’t enough to persuade me to live that type of lifestyle anymore. I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Prestonwood Country Club soon thereafter, and [I] have enjoyed working with great people. I have learned a lot from my time at Prestonwood, and I was truly blessed to be able to have that opportunity.

TF: You have implemented the Get Golf Ready program at your previous job, which increased the women’s golf membership. Have you thought about trying to implement a program like that at UD?

GS: The Get Golf Ready program is something that I was able to help put into place during my time at Thorntree. It is a great program that focuses on people [who] are new to the game and teaches both the etiquette and nuances of the game, as well as giving the student golf-specific instruction. We had several young families at the club with younger children … We had a very positive response from both the women and children at the club, and we were able to get them interested in the game of golf.

While, admittedly, I haven’t put too much thought into it, I am sure something like that could have a similar effect on campus. It is never a bad thing when we can get young people involved in the game of golf.

TF: You lettered four years at Cameron University in golf. Did you always want to be a golf coach?

GS: After college, my initial goal was to be successful in playing for a living. I had aspirations to be able to make it ultimately to the [Professional Golfers’ Association] tour. After giving that a go, I got more and more into the golf business. I became very interested in coaching. I believe that the many things that I have learned over every level of competitive golf could help the younger players reach their potential. So far it has already been incredibly rewarding. I look forward to helping this team reach their potential, and taking UD golf to a place it hasn’t yet seen.

TF: What is it about golfing that you love?

GS: That is a complicated question. There are so many things that I love about the game … that it makes it hard to narrow it down to just one. I think the thing that I love most about it is the nostalgic nature of it. I am sure that that is probably a weird answer. What I mean by that is that the world is so fast-paced now. Golf goes back to a time when the world moved a bit slower, when we weren’t speeding down a freeway to make it to our next meeting on time. For all the people out there [who live] that type of lifestyle, myself included, golf offers an escape from that. For at least those four or five hours on the golf course, time moves a bit slower. We aren’t worried about closing the next deal, or whether or not we are going to meet our numbers. We are only worried about that little white ball, and how in the world we are going to get [it] into that pesky little hole in the least amount of strokes possible.

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