18SP 055: Michael Wellington | Birdies, Bogeys & Bipolar Disorder

What does it take to make your golf game 18STRONG? Join us as Michael Wellington, professional golfer and author of the book “Birdies, Bogeys & Bipolar Disorder” shares his journey both on and of the golf course while battling bipolar disorder.

In his book, Michael gives us an in inside look at what it is like to suffer from such a powerful disorder, and how he has found a system that has allowed him to live life to it’s fullest and play some of his best golf.


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Michael Wellington’s Background

  • Michael grew up in St. Louis, MOMichael
  • Jeff and Michael went to high school together their freshman year at St. Louis University High School (SLUH), prior to Michael transferring to DeSmet Jesuit High School his sophomore year.
  • Michael attended Spring Hill College, where he was an All American and made it to the NAIA National Championship each year.
  • After College Michael played on the minitours and has been to Q-School 6 times.
  • Michael was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2001.
  • He has taken the last 3 years away from competitive golf to focus on building his charitable organization “Birdies 4 Bipolar” (Birdies4Bipolar.org)

Highlights from this Episode

  • Mike tells us his background from his junior golf days up to the present, highlighting his career on the mini tours and his diagnoses of Bipolar in 2001
  • Mike was inspired to write the book and begin the organization, Birdies 4 Bipolar, in order to create more awareness around bipolar disorder and mental health issues in general.
  • Birdies 4 Bipolar (B4B) as an organization supports several causes, one being war veterans and amputees that may be struggling with PTSD or other issues when returning to civilian life.  B4B has helped hundreds through the game of golf to create awareness and support for these individuals and their families.

Birdies 4 Bipolar

  • Mike defines bipolar disorder in his own words, making note of both the mania and depression that are the key components from which one suffers.
  • Mike takes us through one of his amazing stories when he was at the height of one of his manic episodes on the golf course, including the thought he had during the rounds that the green was going to explode if he or his playing partners ball went in the hole!
  • Mike saw golf and especially Q-School as a situation that could both exacerbate a bad situation with bipolar, or help his concentrate and focus better depending on how he was feeling.
  • Mike developed a system that he lives by today and has begun teaching others to help maintain a routine in their life and reduce the highs and lows that can effect those with mental disorders.
  • He calls it the Fourteen Clubs, which consists of the following:
    1. Medication
    2. Exercise
    3. Adequate Sleep and Rest
    4. Healthy Diet
    5. Therapy
    6. Music Therapy
    7. Routine and Gratitude
    8. Water
    9. Social Interaction
    10. The Five Senses
    11. Clean Organization
    12. Sense Of Humor
    13. Reading
    14. Faith Meditation
  • Mike Explains how this system is not just for those suffering from mental disorders, but is also for the golfer.  The highs and lows of golf can almost be looked at as a microcosm of the highs and lows of Bipolar Disorder.  Going from one great shot and excitement to a ball in the water and devastation.
  • Mike talks about the routine that can help all of us live a more balanced life on and off the course.
  • Mike’s biggest lesson learned about bipolar from the game of golf and vice versa is the 2 P’s:
    • Patience
    • Persistence
  • These are 2 qualities to which he attributes his ability to play great golf and beat bipolar disorder.

Recommended Book:

Birdies, Bogeys, and Bipolar Disorder (of course!)

CaddyShack or Happy Gilmore?

Caddyshack.  Mike Tells a great story about his Dad introducing him to one particular seen in this movie when he was just a youngster that became almost therapeutic for his as a kid.

What are you excited about in your near future?

Mike is excited for the continuos growth of Birdies4Bipolar, and especially the launch of the new book.  He is also getting back into playing some competitive golf again, which has been few and far between over the past 3 years due to his commitment to the organization and the book.

Where to Find Michael Wellington

Website: Birdies4Bipolar.org

Twitter: @MWellington3906

If you would like to Donate Directly to the Organization, you can do that by GOING HERE!

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