Zac Radford, 30, was born in St. Louis and grew up in Texas in between San Antonio and Austin. In 2003, his family moved to Brentwood, just south of Nashville.
After the move, he went on to finish high school and attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he graduated in 2009. Over the last several years, Zac has been traveling off and on pursuing a PGA Tour. Having lived briefly in San Antonio and Orlando, he said he would always call Nashville home.
the BEGINNING of a NEW PASSION
Zac grew up playing competitive baseball in Texas. When his family moved to Tennessee, he realized baseball wasn’t as competitive. A few previous golf experiences lead him to put down a mitt and pick up a club.
“I was fortunate enough to pick it up pretty quickly. I didn’t even play golf in college, which everyone who I’m competing with now did,” he said. “I went to school and worked about 40 hours a week and didn’t owe anything when I graduated. Doing is what has allowed me to pursue this dream now.”
After graduating from UT, Zac began to play golf more often. When he was able to knock 18 shots off his game in one year, he thought he had some ability and talent and decided to take the game more seriously.
It took him a few years of practice and learning before he was able to enter into competitions and in 2011, he began playing tournaments.
“The next year, I had enough money to play in this particular event, and then I would have had to go get a job. The week before I had played well in the first round and I was tied for 10th – typically the cuts are made around 50 to 60 at ties. I ended up making two triple bogies on my back nine and was cut by one.”
The next week he decided to play in one more tournament.
“I liked the course, and for some reason, the pressure got lifted,” he said. “I was tied for the lead in the first round, and I ended up playing one over the last six holes. I was playing at a level where I should have continued playing well, but I let [the hype] get in my way.”
Zac said he did see some success that weekend and ended up playing even par to finish around 10th. He said it was a great learning experience for him.
“You have got to put yourself out there to learn, and you’ve got to keep putting yourself out there to be more comfortable.”
Zac said one of the biggest things he learned during that time was how to be a professional, and adjusting to the fact that something he once did for fun before was now his job.
“When I was first getting going, I jumped right into it. I was on the golf course from sun up to sun down for years every single day,” he said. “Learning to balance means learning how much time to spend on your sport and how effective allowing yourself time off can be.”
Zac eventually hit a wall and ended up taking an extensive break from golf because he had worn himself out. He said he stepped back to reassess and gain a plan for the future.
“I was a young kid out of college. I had these dreams, and I was going to work as hard as I could to achieve them, and I didn’t want one stone left unturned.”
He said now he’s working a lot smarter now. He said mental breaks gives himself more energy for when the tournaments come around.
Living in Brentwood, Zac is a member of the Nashville Golf and Athletic Club where the Web.com Tournament will be hosted this summer.
He said not many people have the opportunity to have a huge professional event be at their home course. To qualify for the PGA Tour, golfers need to finish in the top 25 on the money list for the season.
NASHVILLE’S CULTURE and COMMUNITY
When Zac and his family moved to Brentwood in 2003, Cool Springs was just getting going, and Spring Hill wasn’t even a thought in their minds.
“Nashville wasn’t that cool of a place to be,” he said. “Now it is and Cool Springs and Spring Hill are booming.”
Zac said the culture in Nashville is friendly. He’s noticed people want to be helpful everywhere they can be.
“I think a lot of people come here and embrace the Nashville culture,” he said. “The city has created its own unique culture. People embrace it and want to be a part of it.”
Zac thinks it’s awesome that people from all over the world are moving to Nashville every day.
“Even the baristas are nice,” he said. “Everyone wants to sit and talk even if you just met them. I also think it’s good that you see a lot of celebrities or big name people move here because people let them do their own thing.”
When it comes to community, Zac said his idea of the word isn’t about an individualistic mindset but one of success through togetherness with the help of others.
“A community is everyone embracing each other and wanting to see success by selflessly helping and promoting each other.”
Zac said when that happens it brings people together for mutual growth happens.
“My Instagram community is an example,” he said. “I get more excited about other people’s excitement with what I post and share beyond just what I’m doing.”
He said he gets a lot of joy out of seeing someone excited and being able to encourage someone with what’s real to him and what’s going on in his life.
Zac said he wants to be an encouragement and pour into other people’s lives.
To keep up with Zac Radford follow him on Instagram.
Thanks for reading Nashville!