The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the NGA Pro Golf TOUR, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing the NGA TOUR. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there. More than 250 NGA TOUR alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we speak with Oscar Stark. The Swedish-born golfer joined the NGA TOUR after excelling at Oklahoma Christian.
As an Eagle, Stark won the NAIA’s individual championship and led Oklahoma Christian to its second team national title. In doing so, he also earned the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Awards, was named a PING First-Team All-America selection for the third straight year, and was named to the 2011 All-Nicklaus Team. Stark has earned three top-25 finishes on the NGA TOUR over the past 12 months.
Q: Going into your second year on the NGA Pro Golf TOUR, what did you learn in the first year that will help you going forward?
To be patient, trusting and confident in all parts of my game, that is what I call in a continuous work in process. Also to practice even harder, and enhance my mental game further. There are no short cuts to success.
Q: What was the toughest adjustment going from collegiate golf to professional golf?
Preparation. It is essential to create a good schedule for the year, make travel arrangements, budget and other such aspects that I did not need to take care of playing in college. In addition, a strong mentality, self-confidence, dedication, and to put in even more time are vital keys.
Q: What helped best prepare you for this transition?
Working on my mental game and having positive supporters around me. My family back home has also been a pivotal part that has made this transition easier.
Q: In 2011 you won the NAIA Arnold Palmer Medalist Award and the Jack Nicklaus Player of the year award. What do you feel was the key to your success during your senior year at Oklahoma Christian?
I believe the key was that I worked very hard on and off the course in college, especially my senior year. I feel like my mentality was in the right place during that year. I had fun as well as stayed in the present while enhancing my game. It was a joy to go to practice since everyone in the team was really close. This made it easy to practice hard with a good sense of mentality on a daily basis.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or a pre-shot routine that you have to follow?
Yes, I changed my pre-shot routine going into this year and I feel very trusting and comfortable now before each shot. It has already and will in the long run be a key to success.
Q: What aspect of your game do you feel you spend the most time working on to improve?
Right now, I am working on some things in my long game that I feel will really make a difference. So I must say that I am very excited to improve these aspects further.
Q: What is your first memory of golf?
My dad and I hit wedges back home at Forsgardens GC a summer day at one of their wedge areas. I was 10 years old and hit my first golf shots together with my dad.
Q: If you were granted an exemption into any PGA Tour event which one would you choose and why?
The Masters without a doubt. Just because of the competition that’s provided, and its pristine and unbelievable shape and surroundings.
Q: What is the best thing about playing on the NGA TOUR?
The overall experience I get playing against tomorrow’s champions.
Q: Who would make up your dream foursome?
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods.
Q: What are other interests that you have outside of golf?
I love skiing, sailing, and traveling.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
Table tennis I would say. I would like to play against the best guys on the PGA Tour. I believe it would be very competitive.