Playing smarter, not harder, and other lessons from Xander Schauffele’s fireside chat


Xander Schauffele has plenty of reasons to be grateful.

The Hyland brand ambassador won an Olympic gold medal, was part of the U.S. team that claimed the Ryder Cup and married his college sweetheart, Maya — all in the span of a few months in 2021.

The PGA Tour star reflected on his eventful year, and a lot more, during a fireside chat with Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel on Dec. 15.

The conversation, which was streamed live on Hyland’s Facebook page and can be watched above, starts at the 3:30 mark. In addition to discussing his Christmas plans (he planned to stay in “cold” Las Vegas with Maya and her parents) and what he would be if he wasn’t a professional golfer (a physical therapist!), Schauffele dispensed some advice that is every bit as applicable to those of us whose idea of playing 18 holes involves errant tee shots and plenty of breaks for refreshments.

Play smarter, not harder

Prior to the fireside chat, the audience was asked to select Schauffele’s greatest X factor. The choices: He’s cool in the clutch; he plays smarter, not harder; his confidence; and his athletic ability.

Schauffele selected “cool in the clutch,” which seems appropriate for a golfer who was the FedEx Cup runner-up in 2019 and 2020. The audience, however, picked “plays smarter, not harder.”

Xander Schauffele: What is Xander's greatest X factor?

Schauffele acknowledged that as a solid choice, and said there are times his “brain is completely fried” after a competitive round of golf. But when the four-time PGA Tour champion feels as if he’s properly prepared for an event, that’s usually not the case.

“I try to make things easier on myself. And to me, that’s doing a lot of your homework prior to the tournament even starting,” Schauffele said.

Watch and learn

“Growing up,” Tiger Woods “was the pinnacle” of golf viewing for Schauffele.

Schauffele’s father, Stefan, who doubles as his swing coach, would encourage his son to study other pros when they played at Torrey Pines Golf Course — located in Xander’s hometown of La Jolla, California.

“He’d have me watch everyone and how they behaved, because I was a little bit of an angry kid growing up,” Schauffele told Lerner during the Hyland event. “So he wanted me to watch these players and how they dealt with any adversity on the golf course.”

Xander Schauffele plays harder, not smarter.

Find your X factor

Maya, whom Xander met when they were students at San Diego State in 2014, is the golfer’s X factor, Schauffele said during the Hyland event.

“It’s a really nice thing that she doesn’t know anything about golf,” Schauffele said. “Everyone around me gives me advice. Whether they like it or not, it’s so hard to be objective, but they’re going to give me some sort of advice.”

But it’s Maya’s words of wisdom that are especially helpful. A recent example, Schauffele said, occurred when the golfer was struggling with an equipment issue.

“She was like, ‘Why are you so frustrated? You know how to do this prior, with your normal equipment.’ I said yes. She was like, ‘Well, if you switch and you don’t like it, can’t you just go back if you really understand what you’re doing?’ I looked at her and I was like, ‘Gosh, I love you.’ It really is that simple,” Schauffele said.

Yes, sometimes it is that easy. And often, finding your X factor can make all the difference.

At Hyland, we believe we can be the X factor that helps your organization meet its performance goals, along with the expectations of the people you serve.

Whether it’s the power of partnership or industry-leading services, we can be part of your winning team.

Kevin Kleps

Kevin Kleps

Kevin Kleps is a Content Marketing Specialist at Hyland. In a former life, he was a sports business reporter. He still drinks way too much coffee.

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