a day on the links with professional golfer brandon hagy
It’s not uncommon to hold the belief that professional athletes have been at the top of their sport since day one. That they were born with a club in their hand, skates on their feet, or have always had unmatched speed on the track. While that narrative is certainly true for some, for professional golfer Brandon Hagy, growing up a multi-sport athlete turned out to hold quite an advantage when it came to influencing his golf game. After recently joining the Rhone family, we caught up with Brandon at the Innisbrook Golf Resort to learn more about his story, his training regime, and how he balances showing up as an athlete, partner, and most importantly, father.
You noted that you were a multi-sport athlete growing up. Can you talk about how that influenced your golf game?
I played a few different sports growing up and various aspects from all of them have impacted the athlete that I am today. Believe it or not, football and basketball were actually my favorite sports up through my freshman year of high school. I played quarterback as a kid, and I think that gave me introduction into throwing mechanics which has many parallels to hitting the golf ball. With basketball, all of the side to side and lateral movements definitely set me up to be an explosive golfer. It helped me to be able to utilize the ground well to create a substantially higher club head speed and as a result, more distance.
When and how did you first get into golfing?
I first picked up the game at Lindero Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California when I was 9 years old when my grandfather introduced me to the game. After that, I spent a lot of time at Westlake Golf Club in my hometown practicing as much as I could. I didn’t go to a lot of parties…I’d head over to the driving range (which is actually lit) after school and practice until they shut off the lights.
We know every athlete, every golfer has their own unique playing style and strengths but are there any players you aspired to be like growing up?
I think Tiger was definitely the player that I looked up to. Adam Scott was another inspiration and I was always really impressed with his game and his professionalism on the course.
When did you start to really pursue golf as a career? What was the turning point?
I’ve always had confidence in my game but at the end of high school my strength of hitting the ball a long way really started to take shape. The real turning point for me when I knew I could do this as a professional was at the 2012 US Amateur. In my very first US Amateur, I made it to the Semifinals. It was at that event that I recognized I had an advantage at difficult golf courses and that’s something I’ve carried with me to this day.
Have you experienced any major obstacles both in the pursuit of a professional golf career as well as pursuing peak performance throughout your career?
After college in 2014, I didn’t make it through during my first attempt at Q school [Q school, or qualifying school is the name used for the annual qualifying tournaments for leading golf tours]. There are two ways to look at that moment: a disadvantage that set me back a year or added fuel to push me to keep working harder and be ready for the following year. I chose the latter. The following year, I was able to gain status on the PGA Tour Developmental Tour. Then worked my way up to the PGA Tour.
After my first year on the PGA Tour, I started having pain in my left wrist. After multiple stents of taking time off and trying to come back, I finally got the wrist checked again. I was unfortunately diagnosed with a stress fracture which caused me to have to take 5 months off from golf. From that point, I had to slowly work my way back to competitive form and my first year back on the PGA Tour after that injury was my best year yet.
Let’s take a look at what things look like off the course for you. What does your training and recovery regime look like?
I strength train at least 3 days a week during tournaments and 5 days on off weeks. I like to consider my workouts as dynamic strength where I’m challenging my body in multiple degrees of movement. I use a lot of single leg strength movements coupled with explosive exercises, utilizing tools like resistance bands or medicine balls. Just like the golf swing, it’s definitely nice to have strength but you need to be able to use that strength efficiently and in balance to produce consistent results.
In terms of training on the course, it really depends on the day. On tournament days, I’m at the course 2 hours early. I’ll train for about 40 minutes in the PGA Tour workout truck and then I’ll practice all parts of my game for about an hour before tee off. The full round of golf takes anywhere from 4-5 hours. After the round, I actually often will add on another hour or so of practice. So all in, that’s about 6.5-7 hours at the course. On practice days, I would say the total golf time runs in the 6-7 hour range, plus I’ll get a full hour long workout in.
Recovery is just as important as time spent getting stronger and more explosive. I utilize a handful of Hyperice products and work through various stretches at night to cool down. I also work with Stuart Love, a PT that travels to tournaments and helps keep my body moving smoothly without pain. The amount of miles we walk and swings that we make can add up and take a toll on the body, so having both a PT and modalities at night to reset the system is important when it comes to consistently being able to perform on the course at a high level.
How do you set goals for yourself within your golf game? What does that look like?
I think setting goals is an important part of attaining success in anything you do. For me, there are long, middle, and short term goals. Longer goals are oriented towards things I want to accomplish in my career as a whole. Some of those include playing for 15+ years on the PGA Tour, winning Majors, and playing on the Ryder cup for example. Mid-range goals would be more season long oriented goals such as win 5 Top 10s, Top 30 statistically for tee shots etc. Short term goals, for me, are those goals I want to accomplish in a week or even within that day. Those could be certain drills I want to complete for my golf game or the number of times I want to train during the week.
I think it’s really important to write all of these goals down and to track your progress. For my short term goals, I put together a simple spreadsheet that allows me to track specific golf drill goals and progress that I’m making in the gym.
What does success look like for you?
There are two ways I look at success. Yes, there are specific result oriented metrics that define successes like making the playoffs and winning this season. More importantly though, I try to focus on my process as a success metric. Success looks like sticking to practice drills, holding myself accountable to my practice plan each week and continuously checking in with the various goals I have set for myself.
Can you talk a bit about how you navigate fatherhood and being a husband while also maintaining a career as a professional athlete?
Becoming a father has been the best experience of my life. It certainly puts things into perspective and makes me realize that there are much more important things in life outside of my golf shots. Having said that, I think communication and time management are critical to balancing my work with my home life. Having really open communication with my wife, Jay, on what I need to accomplish for the week and on a specific day have been key to finding that balance. She is so good about encouraging me when I need to put the hours into my golf game, whether that’s on the course or in the gym. There’s a lot that goes into this job and this lifestyle, and I know I’ve got a rock solid support system. The best part of it all is when I can tap in and put my favorite hat on–my Dad hat.
Can we get some insight into what a day-in-the-life might look like when you’re not focused on golf?
At the moment, when I’m off the golf course, I am fully diving into being a goofy, fun Dad. I try to wake up early in the morning before Hunter wakes up so I can do some mindfulness and a workout. I love going to the park and taking Hunter on Daddy/daughter dates. It’s always a priority finding special moments with my wife Jay who is pregnant with our second girl. She keeps me laughing nonstop and is a daily reminder how there is so much life off the golf course. Exploring Charlotte as a family and making new friends has been a highlight. When I get back from tournaments we always have a list of home projects we try to tackle…emphasis on “try”. Now that I have my own family, I have loved being fully present at home when I have a week off and soaking up all the hilarious moments that seem to happen every day with little kids. I’m a lucky guy!
Innisbrook Resort is located just outside of Tampa on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast. Tampa International Airport is top-rated and only 35 minutes from the resort gates. With 900 acres of property that resembles a Carolina terrain, Innisbrook embodies the area itself–stunning, relaxing and naturally beautiful. The resort offers four incredible golf courses, including the Copperhead Course, where champions gather to play in the PGA TOUR's Valspar Championship every March. Accommodations are spacious condo-style suites, and you never need to leave the resort for anything you might need with 4 restaurants including the very popular Packard’s Steakhouse, 6 pools, fitness center, waterslides, tennis on 11 clay courts, biking, the beautiful Salamander Spa and so much more. The resort is the perfect getaway location for golfers, couples, and family travel. A year-round Golf School is also an option.