Gen Z self-awareness is a Cool Golf Thing

The kids are going to be alright.
Matthew Wolff, who took time away from golf due to troubles coping with the pressure and demands of the game, is back and playing well again.

I'm a middling Millennial if you go by the birth year range of 1981 to 1996 (I was born in late 1989), and I like my generation, but I often find myself particularly impressed by the elders among the Gen Z set, born 1997 to 2015. Poet Amanda Gorman's reading on Inauguration Day in January blew me away; she and many peers seem capable of shaping the world for the better once they gain firmer control of it later this century.

Professional golfer Matthew Wolff may eventually emerge as another Gen Z leader, too, at least in his own niche. At this year's U.S. Open, the 2019 NCAA individual champion who won his first PGA Tour event less than six weeks later opened up about his recent break from competitive golf: he had been struggling mentally and emotionally from the unique pressures of playing an individual professional sport.

RELATED:'s Ryan Lavner on Matthew Wolff's new outlook

That sort of admission would have been unheard-of from past generations. But as mental health struggles continue to be destigmatized, the honesty of someone from the historically cloistered and conservative world of golf is particularly poignant. Even mainstream outlets like CNN picked up Wolff's story, marking a relatively rare moment where golf nudged its way into greater cultural consciousness.

At just 22 years of age, Wolff's ability to step away from the maelstrom of professional golf and effectively recharge his outlook is no less impressive than his precociousness on the course. A top-15 finish at Torrey Pines in his first start back pointed to the effectiveness of the break. As of this writing, Wolff is off to a strong start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, too. Good for him, good for golf, good for destigmatizing mental health issues.

March 22, 2019
300 words or less, every Friday.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
Commented on

I commend Matthew Wolff speaking out. He is wise beyond his years.

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Gen Z self-awareness is a Cool Golf Thing