Over the course of the last 2 years, I’ve been on a journey to discover who I am and what I need in regards to my goals and aspirations as a professional golfer.
For what felt like a moment in time, I was an MBA Candidate at Florida Southern College, my alma mater.
Then I was a caddy at Streamsong Resort. That was a fun gig, but good lord was it hard on my body.
After that, I spent some time at home before working as an Assistant Golf Professional. Easier on the body, not so great for the mind. Standing behind a desk, answering phones, and helping other people with their golf game just made me wish that I could be out practicing and playing.
Most recently, I was a cart attendant and outside operations director at a well known course in Florida. That’s where it finally clicked.
I’m not in golf for the business, or the networking, or the playing cool courses. I’m here to be a professional golfer. And not just that, I want to be the best darn professional golfer in the world.
So what does that mean? Well, it means no more half-baked lifestyle of working all day and fitting my practice into the remaining time. It means sacrificing some of the fringe luxuries of the life I’ve been living, and redirecting my energy to the goals I set out to achieve.
It means going all in.
So here we are. I’m 24 years old, I know more about health and fitness, golf, mental health, and myself than I ever have. I have loving parents behind me (shoutout to dad for caddying during Q School). I have a brother who has been my role model my whole life, who is so open to sharing his experience. I have friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even total strangers who reach out to express their support and let me know that they are watching. And I want to make you all proud.
But most importantly, I want to make myself proud. And I have high standards.
I’m working to be a better Christian, to deepen my relationship with God. I’m prioritizing things that will help me grow my potential as a golfer, like my fitness and my mental health. I’m doing the little things that make the big difference in the long run.
This isn’t just another job to me. It isn’t some venture that is either going to succeed or fail. I’m not here for the experience, and to see what happens.
This is my life. And I just woke up. This is a journey with only one destination, and I am going to do whatever it takes to get there. No more loitering, no more drifting through and getting by. No more listening to praise that makes men complacent.
I’m ready for the next step, and I know that because I’m all in. Who wants to come with me?
Michael VanDerLaan is a professional golfer from Southbury, Connecticut. He is currently competing on mini tours throughout the United States and chasing his goal of being the world's number 1 ranked golfer. Michael currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida.