The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the Swing Thought Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the Swing Thought 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 Swing Thought Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with former Georgia Bulldog Michael Cromie, a 2014 All-Conference and All-American player.
Q: At what age did you start playing golf?
The first time I picked up a club was at the age of 3. To be honest, I really didn’t enjoy golf starting out. I was too busy playing basketball, baseball, and soccer. My interest in golf started growing when I got to the age of 10 and never looked back.
Q: What is your most memorable golf moment from your time at Georgia?
Tough question, way too many to choose from! I would put our trips to play Augusta National every year at the top. To be able to walk those hallowed grounds is an unbelievable experiences let alone being able to play them. Experiencing it with the team made it that much more memorable. We all grew up imagining what it would be like to play at Augusta and to experience your dreams together is something I’ll never forget.
Q: What was the favorite course you had the chance to play in a college event?
Without question Cypress Point. I believe there were 8 teams total and we played a match play format everyday. It’s the only time I’ve been to California and I’d say I picked a good one to play! The views are just incredible; again it was another trip I’ll remember till the day I die.
Q: You had a pretty cool experience while still an amateur. You won the North & South Men’s Amateur at Pinehurst, after winning the North & South Junior Amateur previously. What was it like to become the first ever to win both of those events?
It is without question my biggest accomplishment to date on the golf course. To have your name on the same trophy as Jack Nicklaus, Francis Ouimet just to name a couple is very humbling and a great honor. Growing up just an hour away, Pinehurst and The North & South Championships have always been special to me. To be the first player to accomplish something at Pinehurst is something I have trouble wrapping my mind around. The amount of history there is incredible and to be the only one in all of that history to win both is very cool.
Q: Did you notice any differences in the way you approached playing in a college tournament and that approach now on a professional tour?
Absolutely, playing for your livelihood is a whole lot different than just playing for ranking points. To be honest, I struggled with it the first half of last year and really only started playing well the second half of the year. It didn’t have to do with mechanics or anything either. It was all between my ears. I reached out to my college coaches, Chris Haack and Jim Douglas, asking for advice on what I did so well my senior year where I was an All-American. Simple, they said, you played to win. I was stuck in the mindset of just trying to make cuts to make sure I had a paycheck. If you think like that, you’re more likely to miss cuts let alone be anywhere near the lead. Within a couple of weeks of talking to them, I picked up my first big win on the eGolf tour.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you offer current collegiate golfers hoping to have professional careers?
Play to win. As simple as that is to say, so many people play just to finish top ten or just good enough to be better than average. No one remembers who comes in second place let alone 35th, so play to win if you want to make a name for yourself. Other than that, you can never have a good enough short game. The old saying “drive for show, putt for dough” couldn’t be more accurate playing professionally.
Q: What would be your dream foursome?
My Dad, Tiger, and Arnie.
Q: What is the best piece of golf advice you have been given?
The advice Haacker and Jim Douglas gave me while I was at UGA. From the second you step foot on campus there, they are constantly beating into you to be aggressive, fearless, play to win. It took me 3 years to finally listen and understand it, but it finally got through and it is something I am constantly reminding myself of on a daily basis.
Q: Do you have any pre-shot or pre-tournament rituals or superstitions?
In my younger days I would have said absolutely but the older and somewhat wiser I get I realize how dumb they are. I’m a huge advocate of a similar routine before every round but nothing I would call a superstition.
Q: What are some of your favorite experiences while competing on the Swing Thought Tour?
This may not be my favorite memory, but it was without a doubt the most memorable experience I had last year on the Swing Thought Tour. After playing 34 holes at a rain-delayed event in North Augusta, I started having stomach pains almost immediately after my round. They progressively got worse as the night went on, so bad in fact I didn’t sleep at all. After showering and packing up the car before the final round I went to warm up. Hit around 15 balls trying to warm up, falling over after every shot in pain I called my parents to let them know that I was going to withdraw. I couldn’t convince myself to W/D after talking to them and tried to hit a few more to tough it out and realized I needed to get to the hospital ASAP. To make a long story short, I made the right decision withdrawing as I was in surgery 3 hours later having an emergency appendectomy. Like I said, it’s not necessarily my favorite memory from last year but certainly one I’ll never forget!