214: Stew Hagestad | Setting Big Goals and Why Playing Pro Isn’t His

If you’re looking for insights into all of the pieces you need to play better, this episode with Stewart Hagestad, one of the worlds top amateur golfers is a can’t-miss interview.

You may recognize our guest’s name from Gold Digest, or the many mentions and appearances on the Golf Channel.  While many golfers all over the world envy Stew’s game and wonder why on earth he doesn’t want to take his talent to the PGA Tour, Stew has big plans both on and of the course and is adamant that he will remain an amateur golfer for life.

At 27 years old, Hagestad has played at the highest of levels and yet decided long ago that he did not want to pursue a professional career in golf. In this episode, Stew shares his story, why he decided not to play professional, and his experiences playing with the titans of the game in the greatest golf events in the world. I found this interview to be a great example for you, the golfers in the 18Strong community trying to figure out how to balances his work schedule with his golf, practice, and fitness schedules.

Stew Hagestad’s Background

  • Born in Newport Beach, CA, Stew grew up playing with the likes of Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith. Hagestad played his college golf for the USC Trojans where he graduated with his Degree in Business and moved to New York to be a Financial Analyst.
  • Hagestad won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur, earning a spot at the 2017 Masters Tournament. He became the first U.S. Mid-Amateur champion qualifier to make the cut at the Masters.
  • Hagestad finished in a tie for 36th place, and won the Silver Cup as the lowest-scoring amateur. Despite his performance, he stated that he has no desire to turn professional.
  • He also won the 2016 Metropolitan Amateur, represented the U.S. in the Walker Cup under Spider Miller, and played in the U.S. open in 2018. 

Highlights from this Episode 

  • stew hagestadHis background in golf growing up and what lead him to pursue golf the way he has. What deciding between his business career and golf career looked like and why he has chosen to stay amateur.
  • His experiences at the Master’s, the Walker Cup, and how the Mid-Amateur launched him into being able to compete in the top events.
  • What his golf, career, fitness, and personal goals look like, how he goes about goal setting, planning, and attaining his goals. Although this sounds like a lot to put on, he breaks it down into a “golf season” and a “non-golf season” to help set him up for success.
  • What his workouts look like, especially in the off-season, to get him prepped and ready for the golf season, to not only perform at his peak but also to prime himself to play at his best right at the start of the season.
  • What surprised him the most regarding the lifestyle when going out to these major events, what the players go through during that week that he enjoyed and that aren’t so great that your average golfer doesn’t realize.
Parting Questions:

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore? Happy Gilmore

What would your walk-up song to the first tee box be? Something with Third Eye Blind.

18 Holes anywhere in the world with anyone, past or present: Where would it be and who would you play? Arnold Palmer and George W. Bush at Augusta

And to prove my theory that Stew resembles a younger George “W” Bush . . .

Stew Hagestad

What is the coolest non-golf thing you have gotten to do because of your golf accomplishments?

I was broadsided in an interview on CNBC by Kevin O’Leary aka “Mr. Wonderful” (Watch the video)

Any last piece of advice for the 18Strong Community?

Set goals and be specific with what you want to do. Don’t just go bang balls for an hour.

Follow Stew Hagestad at:



Episode Sponsor:

SuperSpeed Golf

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