We had the good fortune of connecting with R.J. Ugolik and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi R.J., what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Learning self-discipline I think was the beginning of my success. For a while, I was terrible at it. Zero will power whatsoever. Then I heard someone say that controlling what you put into your body is the first step to disciplining yourself. That was the end of eating Oreo’s by the sleeve. Once you start thinking about how certain actions benefit your well-being as a whole, your universe becomes a zero-sum game. Either you are adding to or subtracting from your cause. Is what you are doing making you better or worse? Start working out? Probably a good idea. Considering cutting out booze every night? Another good idea. Building momentum one good decision after another.

What should our readers know about your business?
A solid source of my income comes from teaching golf. I am proud to say that have given almost 500 lessons this year and I think something that sets me apart is how long I have been teaching compared to my peers in the business, which in turn allows me to handle students of all shapes, sizes & skill levels because it is likely that I have seen a case like theirs before. I started out picking range balls at a junior camp and now I can say that I coach a high school golf teach and teach college golf classes at a local university. The journey wasn’t easy. Building anything from scratch takes time and when mapping moves and making connections, I think it is a balance of ambition and patience that one must have to always be grinding, ready to jump on the right opportunity while also having the wit to see every opportunity through before diving in head first.

In business, the biggest thing I learned is how valuable time is. When I first started, I used to teach all day with no breaks, with the idea that the more money the better. I learned that it actually was costing me. With no time to rest, eat, or do anything for myself, I grew tired and cranky as the day grew longer. Now I make sure to block out times in my daily schedule to ensure that I get the “me” side of things taken care of (exercise, reading, practice, etc.) so that I can be me to my students. In life, the most important things I learned were to be accountable and trust myself. Show up. Mean what you say. Act with intention. Trust your gut. And when you know you can’t trust yourself, that’s a sign you should seek help. I am reminded of the Paulo Coelho quote, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I guess one thing I would like to be known for is how much respect I have for the game of golf and the leaders of the sport. (That’s the whole idea behind “fl0g0lf” – For Lovers 0f Golf.) I know how rich the game is with history, and how far it also has to go to remain relevant. I also know how fun it can be, and how much pleasure comes from a purely struck ball – no matter where you come from. I like to think I am somewhere close to the front of that movement. Bringing golf to new audiences, and making it more accessible that it has been in the past. The amount of gratitude I have for what this game has provided me with is what drives me to show up to the course day in and day out to do what I love.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sometimes friends from back home would come out to the city for business and have just one day to squeeze in all we could. Here’s what a typical itinerary would look like.

I think HomeState has the best texmex and specifically breakfast tacos. I think they have 3 locations now. There’s one at the base of Griffith Park. We would probably start there, then try and hit some balls. The Wilson Golf Course driving range at Griffith Park is a great spot to swing, with a beautiful backdrop on the hillside. They have two courses over there, from which you can look over the city. There’s also Roosevelt Golf course close by, a cozy 9-hole layout for when time is even tighter.

If we were done playing for the day, I would head to Barnsdall Art Park for golden hour. This little gem of a hill is as unique as it gets for Los Angeles. The southern end has a view of the rapidly changing skyline, while the northern end has sweeping views of the hills, the sign and Griffith Park. Top place to catch the sunset without having to hike, in my opinion.

I was raised on sauce on Sunday’s, so it’s only right to end the day with a great Italian meal. I firmly believe La Pergoletta in Los Feliz can hang with the best of them. Their homemade bread and pasta is to die for, and the place makes you feel like you’re sitting off a side street in Rome, not Hollywood Boulevard.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Much of what I know relative to the golf swing is owed to a pro’s pro; Lindsey Hansen. A good player in his own right, he was recently inducted to the CT PGA Hall of Fame. I was fortunate enough to be his apprentice throughout my summers in college and watched firsthand how he never failed to get his students on the right track. No matter how disheveled they came in, they left with a newfound sense of confidence and understanding. He harped on four fundamentals, the same four I have based my teaching around. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him at least once out on the course.

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Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/rugolik28/

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Other: email: rugolik28@gmail.com

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