Driving Ambition: Zach’s Golf Story

As told to Brandon Pedersen, WorkStory Ambassador      

Hi. My name is Zach Giusti. Let me begin by giving you a laydown on my personal interests. Since I was young, I always had a profound interest in both sports and money. Working for a local golf course, I quickly became interested in the game that I saw being played on a daily basis. To top it off, I also learned that professional golfers make quite the pay check. Although I began playing the game at age 6, my interest and love for it grew when I worked at the golf course. This led me to become the captain of my high school golf team, and I was awarded MVP in my senior year. Despite my love for the game, I knew the difficulties associated with becoming a professional at arguably the world’s most frustrating sport! That’s when I decided to apply to university.

I attended Wilfrid Laurier University, where I earned an honours degree in business with a marketing specialization. By the time I approached my fourth year, I realized it was time to start thinking about my future. I applied to numerous sales and marketing jobs and decided to write the LSAT during my last year. What would be better than wearing fancy clothes, driving an exotic car, and obviously, making a lot of money? But, despite my time management skills, I wasn’t able to succeed on the LSAT because of a number of other things going on in my life at the time – namely job applications, midterms, social life, etc. 

Luckily, I received multiple interviews from the sales and marketing companies I had applied to. After several interviews with the manager, I was hired by a billion dollar Paint Company to become a part of their Management Training Program. Eventually, after a few months of training, I was awarded the title of Branch Operations Manager. After about a year of commuting and working in my new position, I was becoming tired and unhappy with my choices. I decided this was not the path I wanted to be on the rest of my life. I wanted to work hard at something I loved.

This is when golf came back into my life. I have always been skilled at sports, in particular, golf. So why not become a pro? Easier said than done. I began by getting a full assessment by one of the top golf coaches in North America, and he told me that I had plenty of potential and that I should explore that potential while I still had the opportunity to (I am still young enough where I have a small window of opportunity to make it happen).

So here I am now, pursuing my dream. This past summer, I played in many professional tournaments on what is known as The Great Lakes Tour. However, playing in tournaments is only part of the process.

So yes, my days now are not spent doing “traditional” work. Waking up early, eating a big breakfast and then heading to the course where I will either practice for 6 hours, or practice a little and then play a round. Golf is a game where there is much more than meets the eye. Practice for me includes: stretching (often overlooked), hitting 1000+ golf balls at the range daily, and playing in as many tournaments as possible. Furthermore, the mental aspect of golf has been the toughest to overcome. Yes, I can shoot a very good practice round, but being able to imitate that in a tournament round is the toughest part. Long days, lots of practice, focus and dedication are what it takes to make it to the next level.

My goals are to be on the Canadian Professional Tour within 2 years and to play in Web.com events by 2017/2018. With my attitude and mindset, I believe I can do this.

So you might be thinking, “this isn’t your traditional work story.” But here’s the thing. I dropped everything, including a well-paid full time job in order to pursue something I love to do. And I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I have never been happier – I love waking up early and working on something that I know I can be great at.

Nobody should tell you what you can and cannot do. The craziest thing is the support or lack of support I have received. Many people whom I thought would support me are telling me I’m crazy for doing this, it’s a waste of time, money and my degree. Others, whom I thought would not care one bit, have been extremely motivating in encouraging me to pursue my dream.

So there you have it. Whether you want to be a lawyer, doctor, athlete, astronaut – whatever – make sure you love what you do, because if you don’t, you will only have yourself to blame.