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The Mental Side of Golf: Interview with Golf Coach Aaron Garcia 

Joseph Mok

  • April 14, 2021

  • Transcript
    Aubrey Costa (Interviewer): So, my first question is: What was your initial reaction to having to create films through virtual learning, instead of in person? I know it’s a lot more different than it would be in person for you, so how did you feel when you first heard that, and how do you feel about the change in general? Joyce Chung: I was a bit hesitant at first, but with this change, I was able to work through different challenges that came along when making a film. Aubrey Costa: Yeah, that’s good. There are always new challenges we have to overcome, and they can actually help you in the future, so I totally agree with that. Ashley, what’s something that was challenging for you, and may even still be challenging for you now, when it comes to making these projects from home? Ashley Henan: The hardest thing, actually, was just coming up with a story because when we’re limited to locations and actors, it’s really hard to come up with a good story. Aubrey Costa: Yeah, I totally understand that. Especially, because you’re not in-person, so you can’t communicate as easily. Joyce, what’s something you enjoy about working from home? Joyce Chung: Something that I enjoy about working from home is having the flexibility to manage my film schedule. Aubrey Costa: Ashley, how has the process of creating one of these films changed? I know you’re a freshman, so you probably don’t have as much experience as Joyce, who’s been doing this longer, but how is it different from other things like this you’ve done in the past? Ashley Henan: I’ve actually never made a film before this. This is my first experience with it. Aubrey Costa: Oh, okay. Well, was it different than you expected? Ashley Henan: No, because there wasn’t really a change, so this is the only process I know. Aubrey Costa: Oh, that’s true. How about you, Joyce? Is it any different? Joyce Chung: This is actually my first time taking a film class, so the process of creating one of my films changed a lot due to the current regulations, and I’m limited with the actors I can use in my film, but I’m very grateful to have family around that are willing to participate and take part in my film-making process. Aubrey Costa: Alright, so regarding your last project for Thanksgiving called ‘Thankfulness,’ what inspired you guys to create it, and how did you go about doing that? Joyce Chung: For me, I think it’s very important to be thankful for your family, especially during these unprecedented times, so for the ‘Thankfulness’ film, I was inspired by my mom and portrayed how she played a vital role in my life, shaping me into the person I am today. Aubrey Costa: Aw, that’s beautiful. I love that. Ashley, what’s something that keeps you motivated and inspired to keep creating these videos with your classmates? Ashley Henan: Well, It really depends on how much I like my story. If I’m proud of my story and I’m proud of what I filmed and edited, it gets me really excited. Aubrey Costa: Joyce, what has been your favorite part about creating these films? Joyce Chung: Personally, my favorite part about creating the films is seeing the end product, knowing all my hard work paid off, and it’s like very fulfilling and rewarding. Aubrey Costa: Do either of you have any ideas for future films you’d want to make? Joyce Chung: In the near future, I would like to film a short movie highlighting the positive aspects of 2020, because, for many people, it’s been a year of unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19 and distance learning, so I think highlighting the positive aspects would be very beneficial. Aubrey Costa: And, last question, do you have any hopes or goals for the upcoming semester with Blue and Gold Productions? Joyce Chung: Some goals that I have in mind are to create more micro-films to hone our skills as filmmakers. Aubrey Costa: What about you, Ashley? Ashley Henan: I just want to actually get back to school, even if it’s just for a little bit, so while we’re filming something, we can get feedback on what we’re filming before we edit it, so we know that it’s good. Aubrey Costa: Yeah, definitely. Well, that’s all the questions I have for you. Thank you guys so much for doing this with me. I will definitely include all of your responses in my article, and I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much!

In sports, and just about everything else in life, having a strong mindset is a crucial
ingredient for success. This holds especially true for golf, which although may not be as
physically demanding as say, football or basketball, trains players to work well in high-pressure

Mr. Aaron Garcia, who has been teaching five sections of AP Psychology at Gahr for
3 years, has recently taken on another role at our school by becoming the new Boys’ and
Girls’ Golf coach. Having played golf ever since he was a toddler, and also being a psychology
teacher, made him the perfect candidate for becoming a golf coach - which as mentioned above,
is a sport that requires discipline and mental toughness.

When the previous golf coach, Mr. Peiper, retired, Athletic Director Mr. Marshall reached out to
some teachers who were interested in taking his place, and Mr. Garcia responded to his email.

“I’m a huge fan of golf, I’ve played golf my whole life, I played in high school, and I really want
to get back to coaching. I love athletics, and so this was a great opportunity to get into Gahr
athletics,” said Garcia.

As a teacher, Garcia loves associating what he teaches in the classroom with the real world, and
he plans to carry that into being the golf coach as well.

“I apply my psychology terms, pretty much daily in my life, especially out on the golf course or
in any type of athletic competition,” said Garcia.

“The students who know me know that I’m always making jokes and always trying to make
connections, just to make the day, or the lesson, or the match more meaningful. And I do that all
the time.”

Garcia began playing golf ever since he was “big enough to hold a club,” and since then, his
passion for the sport never ceased.

“My dad took me to Heartwell Golf Course - the same golf course [where] Tiger Woods learned
how to play ... on Carson Avenue since I was three years old,” Mr. Garcia recalled. “People
don’t believe me when I say that I’ve been golfing for that long, but I always show them... my
first club. And my first club was about this big [makes hand gesture]. So yeah, I’ve just been
golfing my entire life.”

When Garcia was asked what he loved most about the sport, he replied: “The fact that golf is the
ultimate mental game. I tell a lot of people who are just getting into golf that people will play
golf for thirty years and never get any better. Meaning, people who’ll have these habits, and they

will keep these bad habits with them for years and years and years, and it’ll never improve
because golf is all a mental game.”

He also pointed out that there are countless professional athletes in America - from a variety of
sports, such as football, basketball, and baseball - that play golf. Why? Because the nature and
pace of golf is so different compared to so many other sports that involve high-speed momentum.

“You know, Michael Jordan is a HUGE golfer. Charles Barkley is a HUGE golfer. All these guys
golf. And they do it for a few reasons. A: It’s chill, but B: It’s a mental game. And it’s a complete
diversion from what they’re used to doing,” Garcia pointed out. “Michael Jordan is used to
having thousands of people screaming his name in this pressure situation, where he’s gotta just
rely on his instincts, right? And just play and go and go, and not stop and can’t think, and
millions of people screaming at you!”

“So a lot of athletes enjoy playing golf because it’s literally the exact opposite of what they do in
their sport. You know, football is this crazy contact sport. Golf is the exact opposite. So it’s easier
on your body in terms of just physical contact.”

“But that’s not what makes it fun. What makes it fun is the fact that because it’s not a physical,
fast game, it is a mental, you know, pressure-patience game. It’s about, you know, how confident
are you in that singular moment right before you swing the club, or right before you hit that

With the golf season having started on March 20th, Garcia is looking forward to getting back on
the course and playing golf again.

And despite the pandemic, golf is a sport that “naturally socially-distances its players,” said Mr.
Garcia. “Most players will be at least 50-100 yards away from one another, at all times.
Otherwise, golfers will be required to wear masks while on the tee box, they are not allowed to
share equipment, and there are no post-match handshakes between teams.”

As competitions begin rolling in from March to mid-May, hopefully we can once again see our
golf team out on the grass.


Apart from being a Psychology teacher and the new golf coach, Mr. Garica is also an author! He
enjoys writing about psychology and sharing about his knowledge of the human mind. Check out
his novel, “The Inviting Tang of Rotting Nectarines,”
here on sale on Amazon.

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