Real Good People: J.T. Poston
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The Postman Delivers With J.T. Poston

vineyard vines golf ambassador and PGA TOUR player J.T. Poston is having one hell of a year.

J.T. Poston is a damn nice guy. He’s a little quiet, but not in a sheepish or soft spoken way, it’s as though he views words in a conversation like strokes in a round—lowest count wins. He’s tall, with boyish good looks and the ubiquitous politeness that comes from being raised beneath the Mason Dixon line.

On the golf course, though, it’s a different scenario. Put a club in his hand, and he’s all business.

A vineyard vines golf ambassador since 2018, J.T. fits our mold to a tee (pardon the golf pun). He gets the job done, but likes to have some fun along the way.

“I love the gear, on and off the course. My closet is full of it. The Stillwater Golf Pants are straight up the best golf pants I’ve worn. The Palmero Polo, too—that’s probably one of the best shirts, if not the best shirt out there. Not too hot, not too sticky,” J.T. said as we got ready to hit the links. “Plus, it's just been fun. Everybody at vineyard vines is so laid back, and I feel like even if I wasn't associated with the brand from a sponsorship standpoint, we'd go get some beers. It's a perfect fit.”

But for J.T., his journey to the PGA TOUR came long before he started taking practice swings with the whale. “I fell in love with the game at a young age, probably three or four years old,” J.T. told us as we walked the links at a country club in upstate Connecticut, a few days before his second place finish at the Travelers Championship. “I'm a competitive guy, so it didn't take long for me to get the bug. I had the right people around me, they encouraged me, but didn’t let my expectations get too high; they made sure I had fun with it. And I think that's a big part of getting past that beginning stage of playing golf. Because it's not easy. But if you can find a way to make it fun, it takes your mind off of the frustrating side, at least when you're getting going.”

But, as is evident by the lack of swashbuckling pirates and horse-riding cowboys in our modern day workplace, childhood dreams don’t always become reality. “Playing professionally was always a dream. I remember watching Tiger play on TV and thinking, ‘I want to do that.’ But realistically, it wasn’t until my junior year of college—I was an All-American that year—and that was probably the first time that I felt like I could turn that dream into a reality. My first year out as a pro I was still getting used to the lifestyle of being on the road, and golf being my job. And it was great. It was always a dream to play on the PGA TOUR. And for me, it happened so fast and without too much stress. When it's something that you dream of as a kid, it's pretty awesome to live it.”

However, as anyone can tell you, success takes more than just getting in the door

“Getting on tour is pretty wild. Those first few events when you're on the range hitting balls, practicing right next to all the guys you used to watch on TV, the superstars, the names that you recognize week in and week out—that's a little bit of a ‘pinch me’ moment,” J.T. said. “You start to think, ‘Okay, I'm here. I've made it to the PGA TOUR. Now I’ve got to try and beat these guys instead of just looking up to them.’”

Golf is an activity that, to the casual observer, might appear to be more of a drawn out form of punishment than a game. The mental skill required to be successful is just as important, if not more so, than the physical skill. “The mental side is the hardest part to stay consistently strong, especially at this level. You know that there are stretches where the game doesn't come easy. You might have a bad couple of rounds, couple months, couple tournaments. And that’s just part of it,” J.T. told us. “You have to remind yourself of the times that you have played really well, have shot really good scores, and have won golf tournaments. You need to forget about the bad, and remember the good. Think back to those tournaments, those rounds, even certain shots. Boost your confidence a little bit, and carry it forward.”

Luckily for J.T., it’s just when the pressure is dialed up the most that his game excels. “My short game has always been really strong. Getting the ball up and down, not making too many mistakes, and being a really good putter,” J.T. told us. But in a sports world that seems to increasingly favor power over nuance (looking at you baseball), the dagger-like precision of a putt is trumped by knocking a drive into the next county.

“These days, the professional game is getting longer and longer, and the better players are usually the better ball strikers. That’s where I can probably improve the most, so that's where my focus has been. Fortunately for me, the putting and the short game is something that has always been a strength, so there's always going to be confidence in my ability to do that against the best in the world.”

But golf is, at the end of the day, J.T.’s job. And like every other job, it’s a daily grind, and there are ups and downs. “There's a lot of ebbs and flows in your game. You might have some stretches where you're putting it really good, but not hitting it good. And then you might have some stretches where you're hitting it great but not putting well. Or maybe even you're hitting it great, but you're not hitting it close enough with your irons. And a lot of it, you're analyzing as you go. And that determines what my day looks like,” J.T. said.

As we packed up the Club Car and got ready to head back to the clubhouse, we talked with J.T. about the current state of the sport, and where it’s heading. “There’s no doubt golf is having a moment. I think a lot of it is the Tiger effect,” J.T. told us. “These guys, they grew up watching Tiger on TV—winning majors, dominating tournaments, fist pumps, all the excitement—nobody had ever done anything like that until he came along. And so now I think you're starting to see a generation of players, the guys that are my age or younger that grew up with Tiger as the motivation. He was the guy we wanted to be. And I think that's what gives the game the excitement that we see today.”

As far as where J.T. is heading, well, that direction seems to be straight up. Since we chatted with him, he went on to win the John Deere Classic and qualified for his first Open. Talk about more dreams coming true!

Dress Your Best. Play Your Best. How to go head-to-toe like a pro.

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