Smylie Kaufman: Golf’s Newest Renegade Is Simply Unbelievable


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It's not hard to tell who Smylie Kaufman is. That's right, he's the happy guy on the right.
It’s not hard to tell who Smylie Kaufman is. That’s right, he’s the happy guy on the right.


How can you not root for a dude named Smylie?! Heck, without even meeting him I was already in his corner. After spending two days with the 21-year-old Alabama native in Florida recently, I was sold. Unique name aside, this kid is the future and the PGA TOUR better watch out.

He’s just getting warmed up for this weekend’s big show. That hole-in-one in the par 3 contest? Piece of cake.

Smylie Kaufman offers far more to the golf world than an unusual name. Not only is he unusually talented, he’s also inspired the world’s most outlandish cheeseburger, dubbed The Smylie Burger: a cheeseburger topped with mac and cheese, bacon and potato chips paired perfectly with your favorite beverage. Sounds like the perfect menu for watching Smylie crush it this weekend on the course.

Welcom to Smylie Burger, home of the Smylie Burger, can I take your order?

Good Burger Gif

Stale jokes notwithstanding, Smylie has ample reason to smile. At 24, he’s about to play in his first Masters and he’s grinning from ear to ear. What else would you expect? He exhibits the same tenacity as the man he was named after, his grannie’s cousin who was a promising defensive end at Georgia Tech. Tragically, Smylie Gebhart’s career was cut short when he severed his spine playing football and remained wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.

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Smylie was named after his grannie’s cousin. A former defensive end at Georgie Tech.

Smylie didn’t weasel his way into Augusta by quietly posting top 25 finishes; he hammered down the door in the most emphatic style. On a magical Sunday last October, Smylie posted an epic 61 to come from 7 shots back and take his first title at the Shriners Hospital for Children’s Open. This gained him an invite to the 82nd Masters after just his second start on the PGA TOUR. That isn’t supposed to happen. Ever.

Smylie Kaufman celebrates winning the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Smylie Kaufman celebrates winning the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Did he celebrate like any other kid his age would? You bet your ass he did. He and Srixon partner-in-crime, the wild, raucous Harold Varner III, treated themselves to a few celebratory beers:

 “Harold [Varner III] and I led the charge, Kelly was right there with us hanging on… It was a good time.”

These celebrations are well deserved for a man who continues to trust his compartmental approach to the golf swing. There’s no point littering your brain when a bit of pre-swing Happy Gilmore is all you need.


Smylie belongs to that exclusive swing speed club, “The 120 mph crew”, where membership requires one to routinely drive the ball 300+ yards. How does he do it all? Certainly not by getting up at 5am to concoct an algae smoothie before tweeting his next workout video. His mantra has always been, “Keep it Simple”. No ridiculous swing thoughts clouding his mind, no irritating psychobabble, self-belief BS, just a strong drive to improve. Not to mention his penchant for using techniques any one of us can pick up at home.

>> EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: One-On-One With Smylie Kaufman – PGA TOUR renegade Smylie Kaufman on how sequencing is helping him move to the next level.

His usual drill is to keep a tea towel under the arm to maintain his swing on the rails. Innocuous, no? But don’t knock it yet. It’s propelled many an illustrious golfer into the annals of fame. Ever heard of a certain Sir Nick Faldo? That’s right, Sir, bitches.

For every good backswing, a great downswing is required. Smylie was keen to discuss this during his recent shoot with CLICKON Golf.

>> EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: One-On-One With Smylie Kaufman (Part 2): The Downswing – Smylie Kaufman on creating the perfect downswing.


Even the most down-to-earth fellow would change things up for the biggest tournament of his life, right? Absolutely not. Smylie’s all about keeping it business as usual.

“I’ve got my family in town all week so just making sure I stay relaxed and rested. I keep the same routine as any other week…stretching, work out with my trainer Kolby who will be in town as well.”

We expect he’ll be driving through the nearest Chick-Fil-A to scoop up his usual breakfast as well. Look at that competitive spirit of his even racing up against the clock 😉

Now that’s the kind of champion we want. Eager for victory but just as susceptible to the charms of a greasy chicken burger as the rest of us. He’ll frequent these joints with Srixon stablemate, Harold Varner III, who’s also charismatic, full of talent and destined for success. At the very worst, Harold and Kaufmar (snicker) is surely a TV show in the making.

smylie and Harold

It would be foolish to think Smylie’s work ethic isn’t of the highest order. As one of Srixon’s Gen Y players, he defies the stereotype that golfers aren’t athletes. During tournament weeks, Smylie slays the gym each morning, causing rotund middle-aged pundits to shake their heads in disbelief. Equally single-minded in bench-pressing as seeking out the perfect chicken sandwich, Smylie’s a man with the iron will to take on Augusta National.

“I go out to eat with friends. workout, and do it all over again.”

You would expect a debutant to be chewing at the bit to whip round Augusta, but Smylie doesn’t see the point in that.

“I plan on playing the par 3 contest on Wednesday. Most likely 9 holes Monday/Tuesday.”



Weighing a measly 135lbs as a freshman in college, Smylie has worked hard to put on the right sort of bulk. Heading into the Masters with $2 million in the bank from 2016 alone, Smylie deserves some praise. At the rate he’s going, I’m liable to some hypothetical pondering of what would happen if I were to place a bet, which of course is illegal in many states.


Anyone who aspires to follow in the footsteps of great athletes will agree that the devil’s often in the details. And well, you might literally have to follow in Smylie Kaufman’s footsteps to gain that insider knowledge you crave. Luckily, Smylie’s Army is the perfect excuse for you to do that without incurring a restraining order. Not even Jordan Spieth has such a dedicated, boisterous group of fans shadowing his every move. Now isn’t that just the kind of welcome you want after a hard day’s work?

His no-nonsense approach was spelled out by his decision to use the Cleveland Classic 290 driver during his first PGA TOUR victory, where he averaged a staggering 326-yards off the tee. Pair that with Srixon irons and it’s clear this man knows the right equipment for his game.


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>>EXCLUSIVE CONTENT:  Smylie Kaufman Infographic Exclusive insights into this weekend’s dark horse.