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‘It’s something about this game’: Stephen Curry and his love for golf

Steph Curry has turned his focus toward golf this offseason, winning the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Steph Curry

Getting it done on and off the court– Steph Curry won last week’s American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament.

STATELINE, Nev. Stephen Curry’s name rings through the air. Fans of all ages wear his blue and gold Warriors jersey. Kids are sweating and panting after their sprint pursuit just to get a glimpse of the NBA star. In between the screams of his name, there is a brief moment of silence as Curry readies his shot, starts his motion and watches his ball soar through the air. 

It’s not a basketball Curry’s gaze follows after his signature flick of the wrist; instead, it’s a golf ball propelled upwards after a smooth swing. He’s not encircled by a dome with thousands of screaming fans; he’s surrounded by blue sunny skies, towering pines and mountainous views on Lake Tahoe’s Edgewood Golf Course in Nevada, the picturesque backdrop for the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament. 

Curry may have already reached many of basketball’s ultimate achievements — among them, being the NBA’s all-time 3-point leader, winning four NBA championships and two Kia MVPs — but now, he’s turned his high achieving mentality towards another sport.

Curry has been playing golf since he was 10 years old. He is a scratch golfer, which means he typically shoots even par or better for the course. For reference, approximately 2% of golfers can say the same. For someone whose regular gig is being an NBA star, this is an impressive feat.

Despite having tremendous skill on the golf course, Curry is still working to improve. During his practice rounds at the ACC, Curry walked alongside an entire team of golf coaches who were tasked with helping him read greens and analyzing the mechanics of his swing after each shot. 

Curry recently also spent time with Butch Harmon, widely considered to be the best golf teacher in the world.

“He’s an incredibly talented golfer, with tremendous, natural ability,” Harmon told last week. “He played in a Web.Com event and shot 74-74, which is remarkable for an athlete from another sport. There’s nobody on the PGA Tour that could go play in an NBA game, I guarantee you.”

Although basketball and golf are inherently different, Curry is able to apply lessons across both sports. 

“In both sports, when you find that flow, to be able to stay in that space for as long as you can and enjoy it, there’s no better feeling in either sport,” Curry said in his post-round news conference.

Curry was able to find that flow in Tahoe. When he hit good shots, he sang songs, high-fived fans and had a big smile on his face. After his memorable hole-in-one on Saturday, he ran all 152 yards to the pin with his hands outstretched in jubilation. 

Curry also emphasizes the importance of having a short memory in both sports. 

“The next shot mentality is huge,” he said. “Basketball’s a little more reactive so you don’t have too much time to dwell on what’s going on. In golf, you have a long walk from shot to shot to deal with the thoughts going on between the ears. You have to have a bit of amnesia out there.”

Curry has played in Game 7s and won four championships, so pressure is nothing new to him. While he looks just as effortless on the course as he does on the court, Curry said the adrenaline rush he gets playing golf is unmatched. 

“I get way more nervous on the first tee of any event than basketball,” Curry said. “I still get butterflies on the court but that’s my happy place.”

“It’s something about this game. I don’t know how to explain it, but it brings a lot out of you.”

For most of Curry’s life, golf was about how much better he could get and who he played with: from his father, Dell, and his brother, Seth, to fellow NBA players, PGA Tour pros and even presidents. But as Curry has aged and cemented his NBA legacy, he is focused on creating opportunity on the greens for others.

Curry provided six years of funding for the Howard University Golf program, and he founded the Underrated Golf tour, which focuses on balancing the playing field for Black and Hispanic communities to play golf. Recently, he won the PGA’s 2023 Ambassador of Golf award, which is given to someone who fosters the ideals of the game and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course. 

When he thought about the achievement in golf he was most proud of, Curry had to pause to think.

“I think … just the fact that I’ve turned a passion into creating opportunity,” he said. “I feel like I just got started on this journey of creating opportunities for Black and brown kids around the country to pursue golf at the highest level, but also get access to the world of golf.

“That’s what I’m most proud of because it’s not easy to do. I’m excited about where we are and the future.”

Curry is in the midst of a busy offseason that features a great deal of golf. He’s also preparing for the release of his documentary, “Stephen Curry: Underrated”, which debuts July 21 on Apple TV.

Curry will soon put the clubs aside in favor of a basketball to prepare for the Warriors’ 2023-24 season and, perhaps, his fifth NBA title. For now, though, he’s basking in his championship on the greens.