By Stephen Zinger
It happened again. Another season of Big Break on Golf Channel was fast approaching and I had seen some of the early advertisements and player profiles. Much like the other seasons of the golf reality series, there was one contestant that caught my attention, and this season of Big Break Atlantis was no different. For me, there is usually one contestant that stands out among the other contestants before viewers even get to see them hit a golf shot. This time around, that contestant was Meghan Hardin. Unfortunately, her tenure on this season’s show was limited to one episode. However, Meghan was kind enough to give GolfWRX some time to provide us with some insight into her experience on the show and her direction as a newly minted professional golfer.
I began my interview by providing her with a description GolfWRX, and Megan was quick to tell me that an explanation was unnecessary because she is a member of the site as are several of her friends. She is well aware of the variety of topics covered and has paid attention to what the readership has written about her. I explained that for a variety of reasons, she seemed to be the favorite contestant of the show, and she responded with laugh, “Yeah, I know.”
At 19 years old, Meghan is the youngest contestant since the show’s inception. She terminated her brief collegiate career and status as an amateur to turn professional which is required of all contestants. Meghan said her motivation to turn professional was not solely motivated by the Big Break, and she believes the professional mini tours provide a higher level of competition than collegiate golf. She explained that not having to worry about the other demands of college life, such as studying, papers and tests will redirect her focus in obtaining status on the LPGA Tour.
“I get to be my own boss and compete in tournaments I want to compete in,” she said.
Meghan’s experience on the Big Break was different than her expectations going into the show. She said she could not plan a strategy because rules and formatting were not made clear to contestants. During the initial episode when reading the signs along the walk on the beach, she believed that based on the point format, she assumed the contestants would not be eliminated in the traditional manner.
“I was doing my best, but wasn’t fighting for my life like I should have been,” she said.
As a result of the early elimination, Meghan believes her distinct competitive drive was not conveyed in only one episode. She said her motivation as a contestant was not simply to “get on T.V.”
“I didn’t give up the amateur status, and I’m not practicing ten hours a day to just be on T.V,” she said.
She said she realized in the show’s biographical information, it described her as a part-time model. Meghan said she’s only done one photo shoot in her life, and her focus remains on grinding it out on the golf course, driven to achieve her goals.
“I don’t want people to think because I wore a bathing suit, that I’m not serious [about golf],” she said. “In reality, any 19-year-old girl from Southern California is going to be wearing a bathing suit in the Bahamas.”
After elimination from the Big Break, Meghan appeared on an episode of Golf Channel’s The Golf Fix with Michael Breed.
“That was so much fun, I liked that more than the first episode for sure,” she said. “When I got eliminated, after about 14 days of laying on the beach and not a lot of practice, they told me, oh by the way, tomorrow morning you’re going to have a lesson with a guest instructor. I didn’t know until I arrived that it was Michael Breed.”
Meghan said Breed gave her a lot of good tips that she still implements in her swing today. She said Breed weakened her grip making it more neutral, and helped her with her “flip” at impact. After the taping for the show, she said Breed continued to work with her on much of the same instruction seen on the show. When asked if there were a chance we would see her again on future episodes, Meghan responded, “There is a chance. …There is a very good chance.”
At the time of this interview, Meghan had only competed in one tournament on the Cactus Tour (A woman’s professional tour in Phoenix, AZ.) She shot a 79, 77, 76 for a 14th place finish. She cited a considerable amount of nerves trying to prove herself so people would not think she was simply a one hit wonder from the Big Break. Overall, she was not disappointed in her play and said she is working on hitting more greens in regulation. She believes that gap between her and the top players on this tour is small. One drawback to playing on the Cactus Tour is cost. Meghan estimated the expense for her first tournament in the Phoenix area was approximately $2,500. The prize for a first place win was $1,500. Meghan is hoping the tour expands into Southern California to eliminate some of these costs.
Meghan continues to reside in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead, Calif. She plays out of two clubs, Lake Arrowhead Country Club and Arrowhead Country Club. She recently posted a YouTube video (see below) of her during a practice session to send a message that she is serious about golf and her game. Meghan admits some of what has been written about her game in the golf forums has been hurtful. She said on the Big Break, she would warm up for a half hour, then wait four hours before hitting a single shot. She did not feel it was an accurate representation of the depth of her game.
“I posted the video to tell people, listen here, I’m serious about my game,” she said. ‘I am not going around to fashion shows. I’m practicing 10-12 hours a day.”
A typical day in the life of Meghan Hardin begins with a 6 a.m. wake-up call. She runs to her Mom’s home which is about a mile and a half away and spends some time working out in a home gym for about an hour. Following this morning workout, she runs back home to get ready for golf. Her stepfather is also her caddie/swing coach. He played college golf with Paul Goydos at Long Beach State. She varies her practice by spending 10 to 12 hours on the range and practice green, breaking only for lunch. There are other days where she will warm up on the range, but much of the day is spent playing on course, up to 54 holes a day. Meghan and her stepfather review and revise her practice schedule each week.
“I’m blessed to be able to golf everyday and not have to worry about paying for lessons or a caddie,” she said.
After filming ended for the Big Break, Meghan was diagnosed with severe ADD/ADHD and was prescribed medication to address those health concerns.
“It’s helped my golf game immensely, she said. “I wished I had the medication when I was in school.”
Meghan believes top touring professionals in golf separate themselves from the rest with mental confidence in themselves and their game. She plans on playing the Cactus Tour again July 9-11, in Las Vegas, Nev., then at least two tournaments a month until the LPGA Qualifying School in September. Meghan is going to give it her best and has a goal to reach the LPGA within two years. She does not rule out giving up her amateur status and returning to collegiate golf.
“If after two years it feels I am not going to make it, USC has always been my dream school, so I will probably try to go there,” she said. “I have my Associates degree, so I only have two years of school left.”
Meghan gave me a rundown of what she currently has in her bag. She’s currently sponsored by TaylorMade/Adidas Golf and was fitted at TaylorMade’s The Kingdom, in Carlsbad, Calif. Megan said she had the opportunity to meet Taylor Made CEO, Mark King, and expressed gratitude in the manner in which she has been treated by him and the company as a young professional.
“They’ve been great, I am really thankful,” she said.
What’s in Meghan’s bag
Driver: Taylor Made R11s 9*
Fairway woods: Taylor Made RBZ 3 & 7 woods
Hybrids: Taylor Made RBZ 4 HB
Irons: Taylor Made RBZ 5-PW
Wedges: Taylor Made ATV 50/54/58
Putter: Taylor Made Ghost Manta Center Shaft
Meghan Fun Facts
– She received Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award in the organization.
– When she was 14, she was nicknamed Meghan Man Shoulders because she was into body building. She could bench press 165 pounds.
– She is obsessed with video games, her favorites being The Sims, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, and Halo. Last year, she became so obsessed with playing The Sims, she popped a blood vessel in her eye and could not stare at a TV for 48 hours.
You can learn more about Meghan on her website, www.meghanhardin.com
You can also follow her on Twitter @MeghanAHardin
Click the link for a video of her practice session on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UChep5CMxM0skbwge37wkymQ
2017 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide
It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members… the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.
The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. And whether that special person you’re buying for is into apparel, equipment, technology or cool accessories, our Holiday Gift Guide has you covered. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.
When you’re done reading, be sure to pass the link along to drop a not-so-subtle hint of what you really want this holiday season.
Uther Tour Towel: $24.99
The first golf towel the golfer on your list will actually be excited about receiving. Uther has a wealth of cool designs, but we’re partial to the large 20 x 40-inch Flamingo Lake Tour Towel.
Sunfish The Declaration headcover (fairway wood): $59.99
We like the idea of making a statement with one of your wood or hybrid headcovers. There are fewer cooler statement designs than one of the greatest statements in world history: the Declaration of Independence.
True Linkswear Originals: $149
If you haven’t heard, True linkswear has returned to its spikeless roots with a vengeance this year. Whether the golfer on your list prefers a more traditional style or something more sporty, the Originals will satisfy.
A dozen custom Titleist Pro V1s: $56.99
Titleist’s My ProV1 custom creation portal keeps getting cooler. We’re partial to the new holiday graphic options. Custom number + more than 200 logo/icon options + personalization of three lines per side = the best custom ball holiday gift.
Imperial Headwear Ugly Visor: $40
You’ve heard of the ugly Christmas sweater. Take that concept and apply it to a tour visor from Imperial Headwear. Enough said. Plus, Imperial is running a “Black Friday Buy More, Save More Sale” through Sunday.
Bushnell Pro X2: $499
A top-of-the-line rangefinder with bells and whistles aplenty for the demanding golfer on your list.
TecTecTec VPRO500: $149.99
If you don’t want to pony up 500 bucks, here’s an excellent rangefinder at a reasonable price. Measures up to 540 yards and is accurate within one yard. And 20 percent off through November 27!
Sugarloaf Social Club Pimento Pack: $125
The folks at Sugarloaf Social Club have done it again. Their latest offering: The Pimento Pack, featuring SSC’s signature pimento loafwich. Pack includes: Made in the USA dancing pimento putter cover. Olive five-panel cap w/ pimento logo embroidered on front panel. Made in the USA club towel.
The First Major by John Feinstein: $16.99
Feinstein’s latest. Like the dust jacket says: “a dramatic chronicle of the bitterly-fought 2016 Ryder Cup pitting a U.S. team out for revenge against the Europeans determined to keep the Cup out of American hands.” If you’re buying a book, make it this one.
Holderness & Bourne Robbins Long Sleeve Heathered Claret: $125
Holiday red? Sunday red? H&B’s Robbins Long Sleeve Heathered Claret layer feels like a sweatshirt but looks like a sweater. Wearable on course and off. The golfer on your list will appreciate the versatility of this garment in contrast to getting the proverbial “another sweater.”
Linksoul Professor Art Print: $65
A touch classic. A touch modern. A great golf print that’ll satisfy a range of tastes.
Golftec Silver Holiday Package: $295
We end with the gift of better golf (in the form of a Golftec gift package). Boasting a 95 percent success rate, GolfTec students improve their games. The company is offering a range of holiday options, but we like the Silver Package, which includes an evaluation, lesson, practice session, and custom fitting.
Tour Mash: Rahm wins in Dubai, Cook sizzles to victory
Two more points races reached their end this weekend. The LPGA season culminated in Florida with the Race to the CME Globe, while the European Tour concluded its Race to Dubai in, where else? Dubai! The PGA Tour played its final event until the new year, in Georgia, while the Ladies European Tour played its Sanya Open in China. Before American Thanksgiving revelry and remembrance set in, it’s time for one more tour mash.
LPGA Tour: A day of twos ends in a win for Ariya
Ariya Jutanugarn birdied her final two holes to win the CME Tour Championship. She was given the opportunity to win in regulation when Lexi Thompson pushed a 2-foot putt for par at the last. Although Thompson did not win the year’s final event, she captured 2 titles of her own: Vare Trophy for low scoring average and Race To CME Globe, the season’s points race.
How Ariya Jutanugarn tasted victory
The power game has arrived on the LPGA Tour, in case you missed it. Golfers such as Lexi, Ariya and Sung Hyun Park obliterate the orb, leaving little yardage to the green. When her game is firing, Ariya Jutanugarn is unstoppable. After bogey at the first hole on Sunday, the young golfer from Thailand etched six birdies into the final 17 holes, for a second-consecutive 67. Her birdie at the last came from 23 feet, an amazing putt to hole with victory on the line. Down it went, and up went the smile of a champion.
How the rest came up just shy of a win
With eerie similarity, Lexi Thompson’s card was the flip side of Ariya’s. Thompson made six birdies over her first 17 holes, but the hiccough at the last, her only bogey on the day, dropped her to 14-under par and opened the door for Jutanugarn. Thompson was on absolute fire on Sunday, hitting all 14 fairways and using the putter 28 times. Ariya, Kim Kaufman, Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen stood tied atop at 10-under, heading into round 4. Pettersen’s 72, Kaufman’s 71 and Wie’s 70 were simply not enough to keep pace with those coming from behind on Sunday. Ariya, however, was up to the challenge.
Watch highlights from her final round: pic.twitter.com/y3xTacstoL
— #RaceToCMEGlobe ???? (@LPGA) November 19, 2017
European Tour: Rahm wins in Dubai and Fleetwood breathes again
For a time, it seemed as though Justin Rose would win his third consecutive event in Europe and would squeeze past Fleetwood for the season points title. The former Englishman was in the midst of the greatest scoring run of his career, while the later Englishman seemed to have little petrol left in the tank. Then the back nine on Sunday happened, and everything changed.
How Jon Rahm won the DP World Tour
Shane Lowry made 10 birdies on Sunday, but he had one bogey. Rahm had half as many birdies and zero bogeys, and that last number made the difference. The young Basque played a stellar 132 over the closing 36 holes, eclipsed only by Lowry’s 131. Rahm fearlessly navigated his way around the Jumeirah Estates course, eeking out a one-shot win over Lowry and also hard-charging Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
How the others went home trophy-less
We all want to know about Rose. four birdies on the outward 9-holes staked him to a lead, and the greatest season comeback on a major tour was nearly written. With only three bogeys in his first 63 holes, Rose proceeded to bogey 12, 14 and 16, with only a birdie at the last to bring him to 17-under. He ended up two behind Rahm, and in second place in the Race to Dubai points race. It was a glorious campaign for Rose, and cements him as world player to watch in 2018. The Englishman tied for fourth with Sergio Garcia, Dean Burmeister and Dylan Fritelli, both of South Africa, on 17-under par.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 19, 2017
PGA Tour: Cook collects First Tour win in Georgia
Fall is a time for young aspirants to make a mark on the PGA Tour. Austin Cook followed the script, birdieing 3-of-his-final-4 holes to stretch a single-shot lead into a four-stroke triumph. J.J. Spaun, a Web.Com tour graduate in 2017, was in the mix for the second consecutive week. He played well down the stretch, and earned a runner-up finish.
How Cook caught fire
Austin Cook played a veteran front-nine, with one bogey and one birdie. None of the chasers caught him, so the Arkansas alum continued to manage his game in the fairways-greens style. On the inward half, Cook took charge, with birdies at 15, 17 and 18, to move well in front of the runner-up. With the precision of a surgeon, Cook took apart the Sea Island course in impressive fashion. After his second-round 62, many expected him to have one weak round on the weekend, but 66-67 showed the his mettle.
How the others flamed out
Spaun really didn’t flame out, not like last week, when he caught the double-bogey train. A proven winner on other tours, Spaun should win in 2018. His game was solid, mixing in more birdies than bogeys, and his second-place finish was well-earned. Brian Gay might have been more comfortable than any other golfer this week, but he was just as erratic. Case in point: back nine. From holes 13 to 18, Gay made one birdie, two eagles, two pars and one double. Still, his numbers were low enough to secure solo third, one stroke behind Spaun and two in front of the fourth-place finishers.
The best moments from @TheRSMClassic under 60 seconds.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 20, 2017
Ladies European Tour: Boutier sizzles on back nine for win
Celine Boutier imagined a top-10 or top-5 when the third day dawned at Yalong Bay, in China. After bogeys on holes 4 and 5, she needed to gather herself in order to preserve her standing. From this day forward, “gather herself” in the dictionary will forever show a picture of Celine Boutier. Her six-birdie finish vaulted her past all challengers, to her first European Tour victory.
How Boutier bloomed
Celine Boutier (-7) made this birdie on 18 and she’s in 2nd (3 back) at @ROAD2ELDO!
???????????? trophy in reach!
— Symetra Tour (@ROAD2LPGA) September 16, 2017
The recent Duke University graduate posted three rounds in the 60s, the only competitor to achieve that distinction at the Sanya Open. The Frenchwoman didn’t make a bogey until the 15th hole of her second round, but she was stuck in neutral from that hole through the 9th hole on Sunday, making only pars and bogeys. Something clicked at the turn, and Boutier regained the confidence that had produced 10 birdies during the tournament’s first half.
How the others gave chase
Solar Lee was in good standing on Sunday’s outward nine. She bounced back from an opening bogey with three birdies through the 9th, and held the top spot on the leader board at 7-under. Lee reached 9-under through 13, but made bogey at 14 to drop to 8-under. Then came the blossoming of Boutier, and Lee had to be satisfied with the runner-up spot. One spot behind Lee was Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Iceland’s reigning professional golfer, at 7-under.
Wednesday’s Photos from The 2017 RSM Classic
GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.
In last year’s RSM Classic, Mackenzie Hughes won in a five-man playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory. He’s back in the field this year to defend his title.
Check out out photos from Sea Island G.C. below!
- 2017 RSM Championship: Wed. Pt. 1
- 2017 RSM Championship: Wed. Pt. 2
- 2017 RSM Championship: Wed. Pt. 3
Return of the K Sig: Costco’s Kirkland Signature golf ball is back
Spotted: A TaylorMade “M4” driver (via Instagram)
Costco “K Sig” golf ball buyers, don’t forget who you’re hurting
Match of the Ages: 30 Years of Tech Goes Head to Head
Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons
Former employee at “The Oven” confirms Nike made Tiger’s TGR blade irons
Hybrids or Long Irons? A Teacher’s Perspective
See what GolfWRX members are saying about Titleist’s new AVX golf balls
GolfWRX Members Vote: “Which manufacturer made Tiger’s TGR prototype irons?”
Spotted: Titleist’s new Vokey SM7 wedges
What’s the biggest golf surprise of 2017?
The 2017-2018 PGA Tour and European Tour seasons have already kicked off. The turkey is gone, and Christmas is rapidly...
Who would you most want to trade swings with on Tour?
Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky cover a wide variety of topics in this episode including golf movies,...
The great “golfers don’t get paid enough” debate
Do professional golfers stack as much cash as they ought to? Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, and Sam Snead...
Is it really that hard to make it to the PGA Tour?
Most high handicappers delude themselves into thinking that with the right tip from a golf magazine, they’ll be par shooters....
Equipment2 weeks ago
Spotted: A TaylorMade “M4” driver (via Instagram)
Opinion & Analysis3 weeks ago
Hybrids or Long Irons? A Teacher’s Perspective
Equipment1 week ago
10 things you need to know about Cobra’s new King F8 lineup for 2018
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Tiger Woods: I can’t go back to my 2000 swing, so stop asking me to
Opinion & Analysis1 week ago
The numbers behind “full scholarships” in NCAA men’s college golf
Equipment4 days ago
The hottest blade irons in golf right now
Equipment1 week ago
Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge
19th Hole1 week ago
Tiger Woods is hitting it past Rickie Fowler in practice, people are predictably going nuts