Georgia golfer Maxwell Ford, a sophomore from Peachtree Corners, Ga., is set to help lead the Bulldogs into the NCAA regionals, which will be held May 15 through 17 at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath, Michigan.
Ford, who was a standout golfer for Rivers Academy before attending Georgia, has had a solid season including a strong showing in the SEC tournament, which was held recently in Sea Island, Ga.
Here, Ford discusses how the season has gone and his plans for the regionals.
(This interview has been edited for clarity.)
Q: What did SEC tournament play do for you as a player?
A: I got off to a rough start, kind of forgot how to play golf for the first nine holes. After that, it was actually really solid. Saw a lot of things my coach and I were working….which was nice. It was a tough week (personally), but good for us (the golf team) overall.
Q: How was it to play on Sea Island, one of the more premier golf locations on the East Coast?
A: That course is a lot of fun. I have liked that place my whole life. I guess I won on that course in junior golf about three years ago. I just think back to those memories when I’m there.
Q: How does Sea Island differ from your home course here in Athens?
A: It was tough. The greens were really fast and really firm. It’s not something we see too much around here, at least on the UGA course. It’s pretty soft and the greens aren’t too fast. It was definitely a really good test (because) it’s a PGA tour course. It was good for us for sure.
Q: What were the adjustments you made during your transition from high school to college?
A: The biggest thing is probably living on my own. It’s a new world I guess. I have forgotten a lot of things. I miss a lot of appointments or stuff like that. Not always on top of it like I would be if I was with my parents back home. That’s been the biggest thing for me. The new environment of living on my own, going to school and being accountable for all my own stuff.
Q: What is your favorite course that you have played?
A: I really like this other course down in Sea Island that I (played) called Ocean Forest. There’s an amateur tournament every year down there in January/February. Every time I go back there, I love it. My swing coach is down there.
Q: What impact has your swing coach had on your game?
A: He worked at my home course (Atlanta Athletic Club) until my senior year of high school. He left about the same time I came to college and took a job down in Sea Island. So, I used to see him every day but now coming to college and only seeing him once every few months has been tough. It’s probably hurt my golf swing a little bit, it’s gotten a little bit off track.
Q: What’s the strong suit of your golf game: long ball or short game?
A: I don’t know, my golf game is in a weird spot right now because it’s changing a lot. I usually have a good answer for that but my golf game is a work in progress. Everything is a work in progress, currently.
Q: What are you looking to work on as you guys head into NCAA tournament play?
A: I saw my swing coach down at SECs a few days ago and he gave me some stuff to work on. I have been working on that. I took a few days off to rest from the travel, but I’m going to see him next week. He hopefully gives me more stuff to work on. I’ll have a week and half to do that. Whatever he tells me to do, I’ll work on.
Q: What do you want to leave as your legacy here as a collegiate golfer?
A: Develop my golf game as much as I can. Also, help the people around me, my teammates as much as I can. That’s not always the most tangible thing…overall see how good I can get and make my teammates as good as they can be too.
Evan Smoak is a student in the Sports Media Certificate program at the University of Georgia’s Carmical Sports Media Institute.