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BRSN Athlete of the Week Q & A: Men’s Golf Sophomore Mike Graboyes

Hi Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with BRSN and congratulations on a terrific weekend! You ended the MacDonald Cup with a 36-hole score of 4-over par 144, earning a sixth place finish for the weekend. This marks your third Top 10 finish in four tournaments this season. How does that feel?

It feels amazing to have finished the season on a high note. A top-ten finish means that not only was I competing as an individual to win, but also I am doing as much as possible to try and help the team compete for a title.

College golf is an interesting sport because it is both an individual and team sport at once. How do you manage these two aspects?

There is definitely some added pressure because your teammates are counting on you to play well every round. What has worked well for me is thinking as an individual in order to avoid that extra pressure. My goal is to play each round just focused on my own game because playing my best individually means I am helping the team win as well.

When did you first start golfing?

My brother and I were born in Florida and started playing at around two years old. Our parents would bring us out to the course when they were playing so we showed an early interest and would hit golf balls all around the house. I have a scar on my forehead from getting hit during my brother’s back swing when we were three and breaking our parents’ rules by playing in the house!

Can you walk us through a typical training session?

This season our coach instituted 7 AM practices, which definitely helped our team become more competitive. Normally I start out by putting for at least a half an hour because that is what I have been struggling with the most. Then I’ll chip around and usually a few of us will have a small competition using our short game (both putting and chipping). I’ll end the morning practice session by hitting on the driving range for around 45 minutes. Then, after class, I will come back and hit on the range a little more before going out and playing six or nine holes.

Who has had the biggest influence on your golfing career?

My parents have definitely had the biggest impact on my golfing career. They have come to every event that my brother and I have competed in and are supportive in everything we do. Plus, they are always there to kick our butts mentally and give sound advice if they notice something wrong with our swing when we aren’t paying well.

What are the traits, physically and mentally, that a successful golfer needs to have?

Golf is not something any random individual can just pick up and be successful with right away. Physical talent is definitely something that is needed, but that talent needs to be honed and developed through countless hours of practice. On top of that golf is the most mentally demanding sport out there. In tournaments where we play 36 holes in a day it is necessary to focus for 10 hours or more and it is an absolute roller coaster of emotions the entire time. One bad thought can lead to a bad swing and can derail 3 hours of hard work in a split second. It is so mentally draining to be battling your own thoughts for such a long time, and I am personally still learning how to deal with this challenge.

If you weren’t a golfer, what sport would you play?

My other two favorite sports growing up were lacrosse and basketball. I still try and play basketball every once in a while because it is definitely a nice change of pace from golf in the offseason.

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