By Harvin Bhathal (Contributor) – Email

Image credit: University of the Fraser Valley / Flickr
Image credit: University of the Fraser Valley / Flickr

Coming off a win at the KPU Invitational, Zach Olson looks to continue his success at the upcoming CCAA Golf National Championships (October 13 to 16). Olson takes a break and answers questions about how he first started playing golf, who he models his game after, and more.

You moved from Strathmore, Alberta to Abbotsford, to play for the Cascades last year. What is the major difference between last year and this year in terms of adjusting to a new place?

The main difference between this year and last year would be that I already knew quite a few people in the area after living in B.C. last year. Moving out last year was a bit nerve-wracking because I was not guaranteed a spot on the team before moving out here and I also didn’t know anyone in the area. Thankfully, I was able to make the lineup and meet some new friends through playing on the team and living in the dorms on campus. Adjusting to living in a busy city compared to the town of Strathmore did take some getting used to at first. The traffic in Abbotsford compared to Strathmore was the biggest difference.

Which city do you like better? Strathmore or Abbotsford?

I like both cities for different reasons. Abbotsford is really nice for the temperature during the winter months and being able to play golf basically all year long. Living in the mountains is also a bonus for moving out here. The small-town style of Strathmore is definitely something that I miss, though. There is way less traffic and I have known a majority of my friends back home since elementary school; it was pretty cool that we stayed so close all the way through to graduation.

The typical sports kids get into as children are basketball and soccer. How did you get into golf and what made you pursue it professionally?

I got into golf mainly because of my grandparents, as well as my dad. My grandparents lived on a really nice golf course near Ponoka, Alberta so I started swinging a golf club around the age of four. My dad had also started golfing a lot around the time I was born, so he would often head to the driving range in the evenings. Naturally, I looked up to both my dad and my grandpa and wanted to be able to play golf with them whenever I could.

As far as pursuing the sport on a professional level, I am still indecisive on whether or not I will try to go pro after my university career has finished.

Were you or are you interested in any other sports?

Yes, growing up I was more interested in hockey and lacrosse than I was into golf. I never thought of playing competitive golf until I was around 14-years-old. After I started playing a few junior tournaments, it quickly took over my passion for hockey and lacrosse, so I ended up quitting both in order to practice my swing through the winter and play more tournament rounds during spring. I still enjoy playing hockey as well as lacrosse when I get the chance.

After coming close a couple times last year, you picked up your first PacWest win of your career at the KPU Invitational. What will you build upon in order to progress your game and win even more events?

Working on the mental side of my game would play a big part in taking it to the next level. Being able to block out negative thoughts or distractions is key in golf, and if I can improve upon that it would help bring my scoring average down.

From the current golfers on the PGA tour, who do you try to model your game after? Who is your favourite golfer to watch?

I would like to model my game after Adam Scott just based on the fact that his golf swing is about as perfect as it gets. However, my favourite golfer to watch is definitely Jordan Spieth. For only being 22 years old, the amount of skill and maturity he has is extremely impressive.

What are your thoughts on competing for the CCAA Golf National Championships on UFV’s home course?

I am very excited to be hosting the National Championship at our home course. Our team is very familiar with the course, as a few of our players have been playing at Chilliwack for a number of years. It should help ease the pressure of the tournament since our team is so familiar with the environment.

To end things on a light note, how often do you play mini golf? And how good would you say you are?

I hardly ever play mini golf. And I’m pretty poor at it — windmills can be tricky.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.