How Xander Schauffele’s ‘quaranteam’ stays ready to win

This weekend, I crossed a huge item off my bucket list. I got to chat with professional golfer Xander Schauffele and his dad Stefan, who is his swing and mental coach – all through Facebook Live.

It was fun and insightful all at the same time.

Xander has been Hyland’s brand ambassador for almost a year now, and it’s been amazing to get to know someone who is poised to become a legend. He’s also extremely down to earth and would rather let his game do the talking for him, so it was great to hear him share how he’s become the current No. 12 player in the world, according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

The goal of the interview was to investigate and highlight how Xander’s team has identified X factors that help them win. My definition of an X factor is that something extra that provides a competitive edge.

In Xander’s case, there are many X factors. We went deeper on three:

  1. Finding a constant
  2. Building and relying on a great team
  3. Doing your best when no one is watching

We started with Xander’s relationship with his caddy, Austin Kaiser. Austin has been a friend of the family, and one of Xander’s closest friends, for years. How he became Xander’s caddy is a fun story. Go to the 5-minute mark in the video to hear it.

X factor 1: Finding a constant in an ever-changing world

I recently read that the world has undergone a decade of change in one month, so I asked Xander about how he adapts to the constant changes in professional golf. After all, you play golf outside, so the weather is always going to be a factor. Then there are all the different courses, as much as 20 or 30 per season.

“In golf, there are many variables, so we try and control as many things as we can,” said Xander. “Austin has become one of my go-to X factors because he’s a constant in the midst of all those variables, especially under pressure. Off the course, he’s become the pivotal point that makes the wheel of our team go around.”

Lately, I’ve been participating in many online calls with analysts and other C-level executives. With what’s been going on, I’ve been interested to find out as much as I can – to not only get current data, but to also hear what other people think, what their strategies look like.

I feel like that’s what Austin does for Xander.

“During bad weather, he helps take away my thoughts on how the course played previously,” Xander told me. “He helps realign my thinking and approach to the current conditions.”

Now that, my friends, is an X factor. That’s what Hyland strives to be for our customers – a trusted, knowledgeable resource working right along with you.

This leads us to the next X factor, the team.

X factor 2: Building and relying on a great team

I’m a huge sports fan, and when I listen to professional players during interviews, I hear a lot of them talk about themselves. But in a very individual sport like golf, every time I hear Xander, he’s talking about his team.

“I’ve never walked alone,” he told me. “Starting off, it was just my dad and I, but as the years have gone by, we’ve added team members who we felt were essential. Meanwhile, my family has always been there with me. It just never felt like I was doing it by myself. In those big moments, I have a collective giving me guidance, advice, and insight. So when I do get nervous, I focus on the team, not me.”

That’s been a tremendous help during the current situation, as Xander can’t do his normal routine like playing, working out at the gym, or going to a driving range. This is where Stefan has stepped in to make sure he stays not only physically prepared, but also mentally.

“He’s staying strong and flexible, so right now, I see my role more focused on the mental side,” said Stefan. “I’m trying to make sure that he doesn’t get too antsy to play, but also keeping that self-confidence when it is time to get back to work after not playing for two months. We all have to accept this situation and have patience.”

It was right about this point when Xander introduced the newest member to the team: Chewie. His official role is Support Dog, when he‘s awake.

X factor 3: Doing your best while no one is watching

Next up, I wanted to hear about how the current crisis, which has altered the PGA TOUR schedule, will affect Xander’s career.

“We’re all itching to get out there and play. Colonial, which will be the first tournament, will feel like a major, even without spectators,” said Xander. “I’m assuming it will be a very strong field. If you’re one of the more famous players, your birdie might feel a little more special to the fans than someone else’s, so I can see how that factor might affect a player. But if you’re a quiet guy like me, I sort of go about my business. I love playing golf. I just want to get out there. When you and I had that call the other day, you saw me on the range …”

We started to laugh, because during that call, Xander had that look in his eyes.

I knew I had to be as brief as possible. He wanted to play – immediately. No fans? No problem.

“We have had some occasions where we played without a gallery,” said Stefan. “There was a Masters after a rain delay when they didn’t let spectators back on the course. That was a little eerie. Also, there was a full round at The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan last fall. They were being cautious, due to the weather, so there wasn’t a gallery. As Xander’s swing and mental coach, it was wonderful because I could see everything without jockeying for position. When I asked Xander about it later, he told me that he didn’t even realize the fans were gone – there wasn’t a difference. Some players feed off the energy of the crowd, and others block everything out.”

That’s a tremendous statement. Because whether you’re talking about golfing, making a sale, or baking cookies, the best of the best give 100 percent all the time. Even when no one is watching, they strive to be the best they can be.

That’s a huge X factor.

Bonus X factors

As we wrapped up, I was shocked to find out that Xander – a professional golfer with early tee times – is not a morning person. But, like a true champion, that all changes when it’s game time.

“I gladly wake up early for tournaments,” he told me, “but when there’s nothing on the line, I like to sleep.”

Valid point. Sleep is a key aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

So is exercise. Like GOLF. As the courses begin to open up here in Northern Ohio, I know I’m not the only one itching to get back out there.

Speaking of which, apparently the links just opened back up in California – no carts allowed – so as soon the interview was over, Xander and Stefan sprinted to the nearest course.

That’s your bonus X factor: Passion. Because you can’t find a constant, build a great team, and give it your all if your heart isn’t in it. You have to want to be the best, no matter the circumstances.

That’s why I love Hyland so much. Our team is a little bigger than Xander’s – more than 3,600 of us across the globe – but we share that passion. We want to win.

Even more than that, we want our customers to win. And that might be the greatest X factor of all.

Ed McQuiston

Ed McQuiston

Ed McQuiston is Hyland’s executive vice president & chief commercial officer, a position he’s held since 2017. Having served as vice president of global sales since 2012, his current role... read more about: Ed McQuiston

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