Loren’s drive to be best

Loren Nikolai started golfing when he was about five years old. His neighbor gave him a little set of clubs, and his older brother taught him how to play. Loren began to golf seriously at age 12. He remembers riding his bike to the golf course with a bag of clubs on his back. At the time, he could play nine holes for nine cents.

Loren played golf on the varsity team in high school and finished sixth in the state his senior year. Loren also played for his college team. While he worked and pursued his career, Loren only golfed occasionally. But when he retired, Loren began to golf every day. He has golfed six or seven days a week for the last five years.

Some people golf just for fun. But an inward drive keeps Loren coming back to the golf course. “It’s important to me to play as well as I can,” Loren says. “I want to be the best that I can be.”

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The physical and mental challenges of golfing appeal to Loren. I asked him to describe some of those challenges to me.

“It’s very easy to have your self confidence shattered when you’re not playing well,” Loren says. So mentally, playing golf takes a lot of self confidence.  Loren also considers environmental factors like the wind, sun, slope of the fairway and slope of the green before swinging a club.

Loren has a lifetime of experience, but he keeps building knowledge through practice, watching videos and reading articles. He says it’s also mentally challenging to play an opponent in golf. “It’s kind of like a chess match,” Loren says.

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Physically, golfing requires a different kind of fitness. Loren weight trains to build strong core and lower body muscles. Those muscles give more power to his golf swing.

But it’s not just about having strong muscles. Loren says a powerful golf swing comes from having a good rhythm. That means moving your body in a coordinated way when you swing. The key is to practice until every swing moves your body in the same way and the rhythm becomes natural.

Loren loves the challenges of golf and plays every day he can. Even though an ankle injury threatens to take him out of the game, Loren continues to persevere and improve at the sport. But if he has to stop golfing, Loren says he will find another skill to improve.

“If I didn’t play golf,” Loren says, “I would probably practice my piano a whole lot more.”

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