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 or have played on 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 spoke with James White, a current NGA Pro Golf Tour member. James played collegiately at Georgia Tech, where he was a three-time All-ACC selection, two-time All-American, a member of the 2012 Palmer Cup United States team, and winner of the Byron Nelson Award.
Q: What factors led you to ultimately decide to play golf for Georgia Tech?
The facilities and the courses we have access to are second to none. Secondly, I knew it was going to be challenge, and I wanted to test myself.
Q: What are some of your fondest memories during your time at Georgia Tech?
Winning ACC’s as a team every year I was there. For that tournament only, we took a private plane up to the event and stayed in a nice house on a lake. Spending that week in a house on a lake, playing a nice golf course with my teammates couldn’t be beat. On top of that we were always able to play well.
Q: What advice would you give young golfers that aspire to play professionally?
Aim to be the best in the world at as many skill sets as possible. When you become better than Steve Stricker at putting, Zach Johnson at wedges, Luke Donald with your irons, etc… look up and see where you stand. Until then, fall in love with mastering the skills required in golf.
Q: Are there any other professional golfers that have helped you in your transition from college student to pro golfer?
Roberto Castro, Chesson Hadley, Cameron Tringale, and Paul Haley have all been there to answer my questions. We also have a lot in common… Go Jackets!
Q: Your senior year at Georgia Tech you were awarded the Byron Nelson Award. What did that honor mean to you?
I’ve always wanted golf to be “what I do” and not “who I am”… knowing the type of person Byron Nelson was, to receive an award with his name on it is a great honor.
Q: You were a member of Team USA in the 2012 Palmer Cup hosted at Royal County Down Golf Club. What was that experience like?
In competition nothing ever beats competing for your country, it is the greatest honor. On top of that, I got to spend that week with some of my closest golf friends and guys whose game’s I admire, so it made for a special trip.
Q: Do you have any superstitions when it comes to preparation for an event?
Not really to be honest. I feel like if I have certain routine or superstition that I must follow, if for some reason I wasn’t able to do it, I don’t want to feel like I am at a disadvantage for that day.
Q: If you weren’t a golfer, what would you do for a living?
I honestly do not know. One of my favorite music lyrics says, “I move when my heart says move” so I don’t entertain the thought of realistically doing anything else until the time comes. However, I do like flying, I think it would be fun to fly a fighter jet.
Q: How do you feel you give back to the game of golf?
I am a big believer in giving back. You can’t make it in life alone. Many people helped me along the way and it’s the least I can do to return the favor in any way I can.
Q: Several alumni of the NGA Tour have gone on the great success on both the PGA and European Tours. What about the NGA Tour prepares golfers for continued success as they progress through their careers?
I think for me, it’s the competition. There is no way around it. You must shoot low to win an NGA Tour event. I would even say 10 out of 10 times that you win on the NGA Tour you are playing well enough to win at the next level. I think it’s the same thing we see with the success of Web.com players on the PGA Tour.