Sweden native Niclas Johansson, ’10, developed an interest for golf at age 12. His skill set grew exponentially during his time at Georgia College, where he was a four-time, All-American Award winner as one of the best players in the country earning him the first male student-athlete in Georgia College’s history to receive this honor.
Upon graduating from Georgia College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and a minor in international business, he was awarded the player of the year. At that time, Johansson had a stroke average of 72.6 and reached a pinnacle in his career as a professional golfer by winning the first stage of the European Q-school in Austria and advancing to the final stage later that same year. He then received conditional status on the European Challenge Tour in 2011.
“I turned professional straight after college in May,” said Johansson. “I was really excited to start playing as a pro. It brings extra pressure when you are playing to survive, especially in the start of your career, but you have to switch it to something positive and understand that there are not many people who can play golf for a living and do what you love the most.”
Johansson describes what it was like winning after graduating from Georgia College.
“Being able to win on that stage my rookie season was definitely a confidence boost,” he said. “When you win, you show yourself and everybody else you can go all the way. That gives you great strength and a sense of calmness when you get in contention the next time.”
Helping him reach this point was former Georgia College Golf Coach Jimmy Wilson.
“Jimmy got to know my strong and weak spots,” said Johansson. “Whenever I was upset on the golf course, he always had the recipe to get my focus back and never give up. I believe a lot of that defines me as a professional golfer today.”
Wilson’s coaching style inspired individuals to be team players.
“He is unique and made us all feel special by emphasizing the importance of a team more than the individual,” said Johansson. “He made us realize that golf is just a game, which I think is very important and often overlooked as the seriousness of the sport takes over.”
Perhaps Johansson’s biggest supporter is his fiancée Julie White, ’10, who caddied for him on the Asian Tour.
“We traveled all over Asia together and had a great time,” said Johansson. “That was obviously a great experience for both of us that we will remember forever. I want to send a special ‘thanks’ to her for always being there and for being my best supporter.”
After playing on the European Challenge Tour in 2014 and the 2015 Asian Tour, Johansson is on the Nordic League back home in Scandinavia this season playing 12 tournaments and finishing second twice.
According to Johansson, within the last two months he has been playing better than ever and feels excitingly good about where his game is going.
“My ultimate goal is to one day become a great player where I do not have to worry about every penny I earn,” he said. “I know I have the talent. I’ve just got to believe in it fully and practice even harder. I really feel that I’m on the right track and that this year will be big. To one day play on the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) tour contending with the best players in the world and to win multiple tournaments will be great.”