In this edition of Cart Barn Chronicles, we have Web.com and Mackenzie Tour Pro, Grant Hirschman. Grant is a native Memphian and had a very decorated career college career at the University of Oklahoma. I am very grateful for Grant taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions and shed some light on what it’s like playing golf for a living.
Grant give the readers who may not know you some background info about yourself?
I am from Germantown/Collierville area and lived there my whole life. I’m currently living back at home with my dad in Collierville and playing out of Ridgeway Country Club and TPC Southwind.
When did you first start playing golf and when did you feel like you could play at the next level.
I have literally played golf my whole life. Funny story, I think my first tournament was when I was 6 at Audubon and it was a 6 hole tournament and I won. I knew I had the ability and potential to compete my 8th grade year. I had played some bigger tournaments and had no problem at all competing and felt that I belonged.
You made your way to Norman for college, how did you find your way to Oklahoma?
I had a somewhat long recruitment that involved visiting several schools. I knew I wanted to go somewhere a little further from home but not too far. When I visited Oklahoma, I loved the culture that Coach Hybl was building there and all of the facilities were incredible. I felt that I would fit in with the guys and be able to help them win championships and luckily I was. My final 4 schools that I looked at were Auburn, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Oklahoma. All great programs but something about Oklahoma felt like home when I stepped foot on campus.
I watched the series on the Golf Channel, and you aren’t lying about the facilities. You were an integral part of the team from the minute you stepped on campus but you took it to the next level in your junior season. Was there a moment that you knew it was all coming together?
I had a great summer of amateur golf leading into my freshman year so it was setup perfectly. I won the Southeastern Amateur and finished 2nd at TN State Am and 3rd at TN State Open along with some other good finishes at amateur events. I had a great freshman year playing every event and earning All-American honors but then didn’t have as good of a sophomore year. I think I felt that I had it made and lost my grind a little, kinda took my foot off the pedal practice wise. I realized this after my sophomore year and worked a lot harder on all areas of my game. Even parts that I felt were strengths, I worked just as hard at to try to excel past other competitors playing my own game. I won our 2nd event of the season my junior season and that week was the week that I really felt my game was coming together. I ended up winning twice that year and had some other good finishes on top of those.
Y’all won the National Title that same year, can you put that experience into words?
The whole week of winning the National Title was just so awesome. Our team had a decent spring but not great. We could never have all 5 of us play well at the same time and we finally got that at the right time at Rich Harvest Farms. Our team just had a sense of calmness and confidence the entire week and we all just trusted each other. It was like we were so confident that there was not a single worry. When we actually won, it was hard to believe that we were natty champs. It set in after with all the Golf Channel interviews and incredible experiences that followed. For example, flying to the White House for a tour and to meet President Trump. The experiences and opportunities that came after winning were awesome and something I never even thought about.
You followed up 2017 with another strong season in 2018, earning Medalist Honors at the Big 12 Championship. How did that win help you as you started your professional career later that summer?
The win at Big 12’s was really just another realization that I belonged out there. I was able to really build some momentum before and after Big 12’s to eventually just carry into my professional career. Big 12’s was a super fun week because the event was in Tulsa, Oklahoma so it was practically a home event for us. We had so many OU fans and family out there watching that it made it even more special for my senior year.
Nothing beats a home crowd. You made the cut in the hometown FedEx St. Jude Classic, what was that like playing the weekend in front of friends and family?
The whole FedEx St. Jude Classic week was so much fun. I was expecting to have some friends and family out to watch me, but man did I underestimate the support I would get. No matter the tee time, I felt that I always had a lot of people out there following and that made the week even more special. I played some really solid golf Thursday and Friday to put myself into good position going into the weekend but didn’t quite have as sharp of a weekend. It wasn’t the pressure or anything but I definitely learned some important things about myself as a golfer to use going forward.
It was fun getting to watch you play that week, especially in our hometown. You’ve been a professional going on a year, what Tour are you playing the most and what status do you have?
So I played Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada) immediately after graduating in the summer of 2018 and kept my card and status up there for 2019 if needed. I went to Web Q School and made it to final stage to earn Web.com Conditional Status but not any guaranteed starts. So I have conditional status on the Web and full status on Mackenzie Tour if I need it. Last week I Monday qualified into the Savannah Web event to make my first start but unfortunately missed the cut. I’m looking to get a few more starts here soon to build some momentum going forward for the rest of the season.
I am also playing on the All Pro Tour (APT) to help stay sharp and work on my game. I finished T2nd at the event a couple weeks ago and plan to play a few more that I can fit into my schedule.
We will definitely continue to keep up with you throughout the season on those tours. What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced thus far as a golfer?
The mental side for sure. Anything such as knowing that you belong, making a huge putt, or just fighting with demons at some point in your game. The mental side is so huge in high levels of pro golf. I like to think of myself as being mentally strong and do so by just staying in my own bubble. I don’t let other things distract me and stick to my own game.
Hank Haney says its 90% mental and 10% talent. What has been the most rewarding moment for you?
I honestly don’t know if I can key in on one moment right now for being the most rewarding. Even though I’ve accomplished a good amount, I still want so much more. Obviously being a National Champ, Big 12 Champ, 3x All-American all jump out, but hard to narrow in on one thing honestly.
Dream Tuesday practice round 4-some?
Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Donald Trump
Favorite club in the bag?
Driver no doubt
Best golf related purchase in the last year?
I don’t buy too much…..but Pelz putting tutor
Bucket list course?
Thanks again for taking the time to do this, and look forward to catching up with you in Nashville in a couple of weeks.