‘We get pretty competitive’: How Caitlin Clark’s cutthroat mindset manifests on the golf course

March 26, 2024

Michael Reaves

It’s probably tough to play any game against Caitlin Clark. Basketball, of course, but also literally anything else. If you’re in a footrace with her, one-on-one in front of a dart board or even playing Yahtzee, the maniacal winner doesn’t seem to have an off-switch in sight. And if you come across her on the golf course—one of her favorite non-hoops pastimes—we hope you’re ready and raring to go. Or you’re about to lose every cent you have … and your morale as well.

Like three-point role model Steph Curry, the iconic shooter playing now in the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament in her final season for the Iowa Hawkeyes is a fiend for golf when she isn’t on the court. “That’s what I was looking forward to the most with basketball ending [last season],” Clark told Golf Digest heading into this season. “Our coaches were like, ‘You need to get away from the gym,’ even though that’s really hard for me to do sometimes. I still want to be active and do something, so I’m going to go to the golf course.”

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Clark, known for her cutthroat nature, tries to calm down a bit while teeing it up. Everyone needs to rest sometimes, but rest for a superstar isn’t always as easy. Her days off last summer included playing nine holes alongside rising European golf star Ludvig Aberg and two-time major champ (and fellow Iowa native) Zach Johnson during last year’s John Deere Classic Pro-Am. That’s a little more pressure than a slow day at the driving range.

Clark has tried to focus on the “fun” side of things when it comes to athletic endeavors that aren’t basketball, and yet she has had many a battle with her older brother Blake. It doesn’t get more ruthless than a sibling skirmish. We’re sure there’s still trash-talk and upset feelings over golf from years ago. That’s how these things go.

“We get pretty competitive,” Clark said. “I love getting to do something that’s active and outside but also with the people that I love.”

Clark has a great chance to claim an NCAA title as March Madness rolls on the next few weeks. That’s nice and all but it will mean nothing to her brother the next time they hit the course together. It’s all about the latest victory.