A SwingThought TOUR Q&A With Taylor Dickson
The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the SwingThought TOUR, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the SwingThought 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 SwingThought TOUR alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with Taylor Dickson, who played collegiately at the Winthrop.
Q: We read that you didn’t start playing golf seriously until you turned 15 – what made you focus on the game at that point?
Yes, I began to really take it seriously around 15 or 16. At Gaston Country Club we had about 10 juniors to play with everyday which is very rare for one club. We all loved to play and compete with each other and that lead me to play golf more than other sports and pursue it in college.
Q: Were you interested in other sports growing up?
I was really into soccer growing up I played on a travel team and became good friends with everyone on the team and we also played baseball and basketball together. I decided to only play golf going into high school and try to play in college after high school.
Q: At what point did you know you wanted to play college golf?
Right after my freshman year when Harold Varner III left our high school team to play at East Carolina. I wanted to do the same thing I thought it would be fun to go to college and play golf all over the United States. After he left I just continued to work on my game and get better and eventually took an offer to play at Winthrop University and am glad I went to Winthrop.
Q: What do you remember most fondly about your time playing collegiately at Winthrop?
I remember traveling with the team and playing all over the United States was the most fun part. I really liked long van rides for some reason they were fun for our team it gave us time to bond and prank each other sometimes. We were a really close team and I miss team golf; its the most fun form of golf in my opinion.
Q: How would you describe your adjustment from playing collegiately to playing professionally?
I do not take as many chances or risks while on the golf course. In the professional game shots mean dollars and I can't be wasting any shots while playing. I'm not as aggressive off the tee and have learned that laying back and hitting the fairway is key. In college I would just hit driver as far as I could and play from there that won't work at this level.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a professional golfer? How have you overcome or are dealing with overcoming this challenge?
I was a big risk taker in college always going for par 5s in two and if we had a drivable par 4 I was going to try to hit the green. I have learned that the gunslinger type of play can backfire on you pretty quickly. I learned to have a more conservative game plan and know when and when not to risk it by going for it.
Q: What is your favorite golf hole you’ve had a chance to play during a SwingThought TOUR event? What about the most difficult one?
I believe its the 6th hole at Cutter Creek - it is a drivable par 4 and I am a fan of those so that would be my favorite hole of last year. The 18th at Kinderlou Forest was really difficult especially when it was into the wind hitting back up the hill for the 2nd shot from over 200. It's difficult to end the day on such a tough hole.
Q: What is the best part about playing on the SwingThought TOUR?
The competition is usually pretty good and that's what is going to make me better. I want to play in tournaments where I am pushed to play well and get better every round I play. I feel SwingThought has given me that.
Q: Who has had the greatest impact or influence on you as it pertains to your golf career?
Bruce Sudderth has been my mentor and swing coach for about 10 years and he has helped me not only on the course but off it as well. He has taught me everything I know about golf I would not be where I am today without him no question.
Q: What advice would you have for any player finishing their college career who has hopes of playing professional golf?
It's going to take a lot of hard work on and off the golf course to succeed at the next level. It will not be easy and you need to be patient and just keep working at it - you never know when your big break could come.