The Fearless Youth - 18 Questions with 18UndaPar

Fear Not...

When we are kids nothing seems to phase our youthful mind. We fall down, we get up, and we attack life with an unbridled confidence.  Today I sit and observe my 10 nieces and nephews; they all seem to go about life without the fear that we adults seem to live with in our daily lives.  I am confident that we all started our lives with a similar fearlessness and somewhere along the way we let worry and doubt creep into our subconscious.

Fear seems to be a suggestion to millennials. They seem to ignore the world's suggestions and completely delete it from their vocabulary. It's as if they continued with confidence far beyond any generation before them.  Youthful humans have pushed the progression found in today’s sports to the limits, and by all accounts there seem to be no limit to what can be achieved by the youth of today. In a variety of sports, from X-Games to running, there appears to be someone younger, stronger and faster right around the corner that will shatter records otherwise thought impossible in years past. 

As an example of this in Golf, let's take 11-year young Matty, founder of 18 Unda' Par. He is leading the way in the fearless youth movement; he decided to push the limits in the game of golf by setting a goal to shoot 18 under par, which would be the equivalent of Robert Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile in track and field back in 1954. Everyone said it could not be done yet since his record-breaking mile, 18 (<-- coincidence?) other sub 4 minute miles have been achieved.  

When I first discovered Matty through Instagram, I took the time to learn about his goal and company through his website. I had the typical doubting adult response, thinking "no one can achieve that impossible goal when pros typically reach the summit at the magic number of 59".  I then took a moment to ponder my negative thought, "if a pro can achieve 13 under, why can't this 11 year old who made it a life goal to achieve the magic number of 18 under?  He has time, youth, talent, and intent". If you take any amount of time to learn about this over-achieving kid, you will begin to believe in his cause and his overall outlook on life.  I can not tell you how many adults I run across in day-to-day life that are unhappy with where they are and what they have NOT done in life; they have an overwhelming fear to make a change. Take a look at Matty and what he has achieved at a young age. You may begin to realize that the only person that can make 'you' you. 

18 Questions with 18 Unda Par 

Matty, Founder of 

Player Profile:

Name: Matty

Age: 11

Born: Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Sports Team: Manchester United and all New England teams excluding The New England Revolution

Likes: Watching Capoeira Videos

Favorite Food: Beans on Toast

Quote: "I dream about winning the Ryder Cup"

1.  Who inspired you to play golf?

My folks. I really liked swimming, but I guess after doing competitive swimming I was a little bored of the black line, so said, let’s do this golf thing.

2.  Why did you start your business and at what age?

18UndaPar started when I had this idea of being able to shoot 18 under par after hitting balls in the pasture. Being from New England, you don’t say UNDER you say UNDA. Most of the brands I looked at was really cool but wasn’t really what I was or wanted to be about. So thought wouldn’t it be cool if it looked like.

I was 10 years old when it started. A family friend from Boston said, Tommy Hilfiger started by selling jeans out the truck of his car and look where they are at now. He is the brand. If you have something people can connect with then you are halfway there. More than just being clothing, 18UndaPar is a brand bigger than me. I don’t know if people will connect with it, but for right now I am 120% connected to the journey of being better everyday, living a positive life, being healthy, living in the space of possible. About the #18undapar life.

3.  Did your parents help you get your start in business or did you do everything on your own with their advice?

My parents are very supportive and they have helped me with much of the administration and filling out of paperwork and things like that. Each step has been a learning experience. They will often say, if you are failing forward then you will be okay. Most of my ideas is just me wanting to be better and being inclusive.

I remember my first meeting I had to put on a collar and tie to speak to Mr. Mark Anderson from the Quechee Club. It’s not that I don’t do dapper. I have known Mr. Mark for a couple of years when going into the Pro Shop but sitting across the table asking him questions about my idea and how, why, when, could this work, what was his opinion really made me think, can I do this? Meeting with other business owners after that has been great, I have learnt a lot and there are more people who want to share what they have learnt than you think.

4.  Did you ever have a lemonade stand and if not, did you have a business before 18 Unda Par?

Yes, my first business was a free range chicken egg business, I started saving for 2 years before starting. I thought it was the hardest thing to do. I asked my dad for the money to do it and he said, you want a loan but you got no assets, sorry son. Anyways. I used that business to start 18UndaPar.

5.  Do you think you will achieve 18 under par and if you do when do you think you will achieve your goal?

Yes, it could happen tomorrow. I just have to pitch up. I asked Keegan Bradley that question at his Charity Golf day this year and he said, you have to think that way every time to peg it up. That was really cool.

6.  What is your best score in golf?

My best score is whatever I shoot tomorrow. My lowest round 64.

7.  What professional golfer, man or women will reach 18 under par first?

Lydia Ko. I really like her. She has just blown the doors off and really knows what she is doing. Whatever you thought was normal is no longer and she is the new normal.

8.  What is your most memorable golf shot? Mine was a 50-foot chip in at the 18th hole at Torrey Pines South to break 90 for the first time on the South Course.  I play the shot over-and-over in my head all the time.

4th hole, par 4 of Highland at the Quechee Club - 150 yard with a 5 rescue, 3rd shot, in the hole. You can really make tweeter from anywhere.

9.  Who do you think will take over as the “next” Tiger Woods?  Is that golfer Rory McIlroy?

I don’t know. Tiger is still Tiger. I have watched a lot of old video of him and really hope I get to see him do that again. Rory is really exciting to watch.

10.  Speaking of that Rory guy, do you think he will win more tournaments than Tiger when all is said and done?

No clue, that is in the future. Anything can happen.

11.  What do you think of the cultural diversity in the PGA Tour or lack there of?

I am from Vermont, there aren’t very many people that look like me here or play golf either. But everyone that I have played with has been really awesome. I think the Olympics will have a great impact on who is playing this great game. I would hope all kids would get this chance, I truly love this game.

12.  Why do you think the LPGA reaches a much wider global demographic than the PGA?

I really like the LPGA and it seems like they do travel a lot especially to the east. Wouldn’t it be cool if the PGA Tour did more of that? It would give more players the chance to compete against the very best.

13.  Do you have an opinion why there are not many African Americans on the PGA Tour, and how can the PGA add more minorities to the tour?

Not sure, I know there are a whole bunch coming.

14.  Tell me more about the Black Heart Foundation and why the public should donate to their cause?

I think what they do is really cool in getting kids from underprivileged kids from around the world access. Their website has all the programs that they are involved with. I met Mr. Rick Lewis while playing golf and he told me about the foundation. I know I am very fortunate to do what I do and hoping to raise awareness for a charity that is giving kids access to do what they would like to do is awesome. This year a big lesson that I learnt was whatever you are doing, it can help others. If life took a different step somewhere, maybe I am one of those kids.

15.  If you had one players that you would want to play with at Augusta National with, who would it be and why?

One player, wow, that’s tough. I would have to say Rory. I think it would be interesting to play the 10th and ask him how that all went down and what he learnt from that situation.

16.  Where can the golf industry improve, and what suggestions would you make to the industry as a whole?

Wow this is a tough one. Flood lights on the course?

17.  The golf industry continues to struggle, specifically local golf courses with less rounds being played annually.  Do you think that more golf courses will close and do you have courses closing in your area?

That is tough to hear. I know we don’t travel much to play golf at other courses, cause right now I am focused at beating up on Quechee. I have heard this on the golf channel before. I don’t think people don’t want to play. Generally most people would like to play but maybe not 5 hours so different options for families with shorter playing times would include more people? The great thing about a problem, there is always a solution. Whoever figures it out first, can I say chang chang.

18.  Do you plan on playing professional golf and if you play professionally will you want to play in college to get your education first?

I have not thought that far yet. I am not really focused on getting to the PGA tour or playing D1 College. I know my folks keep saying never stop learning. If I have the chance to go to College or Pro then great, I just have today so making the best of what I can do, better today than yesterday. I want to do whatever it takes to shoot 18UndaPar on my home course and then after that maybe shoot that number of the best courses out there, St. Andrews is on top of the list. Which course do you think I should add to the list?

"Stop Drop And Make A 12 Foota"

Making life look easy! He indeed is making 12 footers look fun. 

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