Athlete of the Week: Tommy Vining, Lincoln Patriots
Tommy Vining is a senior golfer at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. Next season he’ll be playing with the Golden Gophers and the University of Minnesota. Vining began his golfing journey at a very young age, and he said he wants to keep improving.
“I worked with my grandpa for a long time. He’s a golf instructor, retired now. I worked with him from the beginning, probably started when I was around 2 (years old). My whole family golfs, so it’s pretty good to be around them,” said Vining.
Vining said he has to stay extremely committed to golf on a daily basis. He said local golf courses are almost a second home to him.
“I try and go every day. During the high school season, I’ll be at the course till dark. During the summer, I golf every day, because you have tournaments almost every week, so you’ve got to keep up your game,” said Vining.
Vining says on days off he tries to rest his mind and think of things outside of golf.
“Golf mentally can be pretty exhausting, so you need to take breaks. Managing those breaks can sometimes be a challenge,” said Vining.
He claims controlling the mental game can strengthen other areas of a person’s skill base.
Vining said colleges started to pay attention to him early in his high school career.
“As a freshman, colleges started sending me questionnaires and stuff. I didn’t really wait to commit when Minnesota offered,” said Vining.
A lot of young golfers, like most young athletes, have professionals who they look up to. Most of my generation chose either Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods, but Vining has a different idle.
“I like Jack Nicklaus, I like how he set the standard of 18 majors. Hopefully I can get there someday. It’s a pretty big goal, but if you believe it you can do it,” said Vining.
Vining said he expects to play well for the University of Minnesota, and with that comes more hard work and commitment.