Ever wonder what it is like to make a hole-in-one and create opportunities to help others? Meet Professional Golfer Hailey Ostrom. Hailey shares her remarkable experiences that include lessons of hard work, perseverance, and confidence!
Sam: Thank you for taking part in this interview, would you please share with our audience a little about yourself & upbringing?
Hailey Ostrom: Where do I start!? I've been playing golf for as long as I can remember. My dad got me into the sport as soon as I could walk, and I started competing in tournaments when I was nine years old. From there, I played in high school and eventually went on to play for George Fox University. I would say I didn't truly fall in love with the game until my college years. This is where I decided as my own individual to put in the time necessary to be the best I could be. I didn't have anyone forcing me to go to practice. If I wasn't practicing and improving, I wouldn't have a spot on our very competitive team. The time I put into my game and seeing my improvement along the way was what made me love it even more. My progression in college golf is what made me realize I could make this into a profession. I knew I had the work ethic and had taken my game from a mid 90's player to a low 70's player in just four years. With a little - okay, a lot - of encouragement from my parents, I decided to move to Arizona to join the tour and begin my professional dream.
If I had to describe what my upbringing was like in one sentence I would say, I was taught from a very young age to work hard for what you want in life because you can control your future. I still believe that to this day. I was never a country club kid. I didn’t travel all over to play in the biggest tournaments when I was younger. But I was taught to work hard and create the future I wanted.
Sam: Do you mind telling us a little more about that mindset, particularly the perseverance from not making the lineup your Freshman year of college to receiving All-American Honors by the Senior season at George Fox University?
Hailey Ostrom: Ever since I was little I have been extremely competitive. My dad always said I played better when I was mad; and that was true in any sport. So, I believe that in order for me to be the absolute best collegiate player I could possibly be, I had to experience what it was like to lose my freshman season. I had to understand how much it sucked to sit out and watch the rest of my teammates compete at Nationals. I had to get a little bit angry. I never wanted that to happen again and I knew I could change it. It’s easy to look back now and say I just went out and did it. But it didn’t happen overnight. It was three years of going early to practice, staying late, practicing on the off days, asking coach for personal meetings to go over my mental game, driving the 20 miles to Tualatin’s Island Greens to hit under cover on the cold rainy days when practice was canceled. I believe perseverance is developed by either the desire to win, or the fear of failure. I think I had a lot of both.
Sam: Back to when you announced you were going pro, you hit a hole-in-one during a charity round . Tell us a little about that and the recognition that followed thereafter?
Hailey Ostrom: One of my favorite days! I was working an event for Backswing Golf Events helping raise money for a charity. Prior to starting the charity event and with the encouragement from my friends surrounding me, I decided to enter into my next tournament as a professional. No turning back now! I was officially a professional golfer, could accept a paycheck should I win one, and accept sponsor deals. I was excited by my decision, texted my parents the news and then started my day of work.
I was set up on hole 16 at TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, just one day after the Waste Management Tournament. So, the stadium was set up and everyone who came through was taking photos and videos of the recognizable hole. I had a professional photographer with me, some employees helping me manage the donations, and about 10 golfers surrounding me waiting to play me in a “Beat the Pro” contest. I hit my first hole-in-one with a large audience and a professional photographer on one of the most recognizable holes in golf. Needless to say, I won the “Beat the Pro” contest.
I called my dad in excitement. He said he wasn’t even surprised. He said he knew this was going to be a good day for me since I had decided to start my professional career and this was the sign God gave me confirming my career was going to be great. It was the perfect day.
Sam: That is a great story! Since golf is a game that requires a lot of confidence to perform well. How do you maintain confidence while playing?
Hailey Ostrom: Confidence is something you can teach yourself. It’s hard work and takes a lot of time and patience, but once you learn how to control your mind, you’re unstoppable. I work hard on my mental game on & off the course. I used to think I only needed a good mental game while I was golfing, but then I realized confidence is important in every aspect of life and will benefit my game if I’m naturally confident all the time.
The “trick” to staying confident on the course is staying in the present moment. If you stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand, it is impossible for you to worry about losing the next hole or remember that putt you missed three holes back. The player who can stay in the present moment the longest is the player who can win.
Sam: Shifting focus a bit, you are also heavily involved with charities, and notably Backswing Golf Events. Why are these important to you?
Hailey Ostrom: It is important to me to be involved in something that’s greater than golf. It helps me to stay grounded and keep things in perspective. Golf is a game and should never be treated as more than that. There are people in our world who are struggling and living through their own personal hell. I think it’s important to remember that. When I miss a cut or have a bad hole on the course, I need to keep it in perspective and remember how blessed I am to be out there playing this game I love.
Sam: You’ve had an impressive story, and the future looks bright. What’s next for you & where can people follow your journey?
Hailey Ostrom: I want to continue chasing the LPGA. I not only want to make it onto the LPGA, but I want to win on tour. I think once I make it, doors will open and I will have a lot of opportunities to help make a difference in our sport, especially for the next generation. People can always follow my journey on my website or my social media. #TeamHailey
Disclaimer: All photos provided courtesy of Hailey Ostrom. Potential minor edits for length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
NEXT: If you enjoyed this article, please read our interview with Olympic Speed Skater Saskia Alusalu