UNCA freshman owns winning mentality in golf

Ashley Tysiac, Sports Writer

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Photo By Camryn Mickan
Golfer Mady Gold earned Big South Freshman of the Week.

Though already a key part of the UNC Asheville women’s golf team as a young freshman, Madyson Gold admitted she did not exhibit nearly the same talent and drive she possesses now years ago– she was not always the best on the golf course.

“I was never really a good golfer,” Gold said. “When I was little, I wasn’t the best. I wasn’t winning tournaments, I was just playing in them. But I was just vibing, everybody liked me, but I wasn’t very good.”

The Ft. Lauderdale, Florida native picked up her first club and headed out to the golf course at the ripe age of seven, and has played pretty much everyday since. But it was not until she grew older that Gold decided to change her approach to golfing; she knew she had the potential to succeed.

“I feel like there was a point where I hit and I was like, ‘damn, I can do this,’” Gold said. “I can play collegiate ball and I can be good and I can do anything I set my mind to. I can be good if I just do it.”

The changed mindset helped boost Gold’s golf game and confidence. During her high school career at The Sagemont School in Florida, she earned First-Team All-Broward County as a senior and the 2019 South Florida PGA Ed Ficker Sportsmanship Award, recognitions which showcase her skill as well as her respect for the game and positive mentality as a golfer.

Now in her first year as a Bulldog, Gold continues to hold that same winning mentality that helped transform her game.

Gold is a key member of the golf team’s stellar freshman class — a class that makes up nearly the entire team —  that has already made an impression at tournaments during the 2021 spring season. She earned recognition as Big South Co-Freshman Golfer of the Week for March 11-17 for her 1-over-par-73 score at the Low Country Intercollegiate.

But it’s not just the care and technique exhibited out on the golf course that reaps rewards for Gold, but rather her continued positive mentality and commitment to the game that she molded years ago.

“I feel so passionate about it because I’ve been doing it for so long,” Gold said.

The women’s golf team immediately felt a positive impact from the presence of a seven person freshman class. The Bulldogs finished as a team within the top nine in three of the first four competitions, fielding a crew consisting of entirely freshmen. Gold has played a large role in many of these tournaments, tying for sixth at the Low Country Intercollegiate and finishing as UNCA’s top golfer at the Kiawah Island Classic on March 2.

As far as her golfing game goes, Gold said she takes pride in her ball striking, which she said helped her put together such strong tournament rounds.

“Getting it on the green is never really an issue for me and getting on the fairway,” Gold said.

But her impact extends far beyond skills exhibited on the course. Gold embodies a strong leader’s mentality and encourages those around her to have healthy, positive attitudes at practice and in competitions, something Phoebe Carles, a fellow freshman on the UNCA women’s golf team, said makes Gold such a unique asset.

“She has the best mindset and the most confidence that I’ve ever seen of any individual that plays golf,” Carles said.

Perhaps the key to Gold’s early collegiate success lies in this mentality she crafted growing up and continually possess throughout play. UNCA Women’s Golf Head Coach Ericka Schneider said Gold does not let challenges and mistakes faze her, but rather pushes through them and learns from them.

“When she does struggle, you can’t tell,” Schneider said. “I think that’s in large part the reason she has been so successful, because of her demeanor on the golf course. Like a duck, water rolls off it’s back. So does adversity with Mady when she is on the golf course.”

It’s a rare type of attitude many competitors do not own, something Schneider said gives Gold an upper hand in tournament play.

“She’s an extremely positive individual and I think that’s one thing she has on a lot of the people that she plays against,” Schneider said. “She does a really good job not letting the bad get to her.”

It’s no question that Gold — and, frankly, the rest of the talented freshmen women’s golfers — have set themselves up for improvement and future success in the coming years. Schneider said the team, along with Gold’s strong leadership, can reach their highest goals as they continue to grow over the next three years.

“Golf is not a game of perfect golf shots — golf is a game of misses,” Schneider said. “The person that hoists the trophy or the team that hoists the trophy at the end of a tournament is not the one that hit the most golf shots, but the one that hit the best misses. To be able to take their failures and their misses and turn them into positives and things that they can grow and learn from, the sky is the limit. Not even the sky, but outer space or wherever they want to go.”

Gold has come a long way from the young elementary schooler who did not win the big tournaments and competitions. But Gold said she does not plan on stopping her growth now as she hopes to reach the sky and outer space as an individual and a member of the young Bulldog team.

“I just want to keep getting better because I know I can,” Gold said