What price are you willing to pay to achieve your dreams? What sacrifices are you willing to make to support someone else’s dreams? This is a story of sacrifice, heartache, and impossible dreams. It’s also the story of determination, love, and eventually…a man living out his dreams.

William McGirt

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Sports journalists aren’t supposed to tell you to root for someone.

They are supposed to report the news, stick to the facts, and leave it at that. But this story makes that impossible. This story has an underdog, someone who shouldn’t be there, someone for whom even the most hardened of sports journalists must cheer. And tell the world to do the same.

And so the Los Angeles Times told it’s readers a few weeks ago to root for a golfer named William McGirt.

It’s OK if you’ve never heard of him. It doesn’t mean you’ve been living in a cave. Even the most dedicated golf fans hadn’t heard of him prior to this past February, when he entered the final round of the PGA Tour event in Los Angeles with a two-shot lead.

I only know him because I grew up playing golf with him. We met at a tournament in Charleston, SC and discovered that his teacher was one of my dad’s best friends. We would practice together often between tournaments. At the time, we were equals in terms of abilities and performance. I had the physical advantage, but when we would play in the same tournaments, he’d beat me one week and I’d beat him the next. We were evenly matched.

Only one of us gave up…I’ll let you guess who that was.

William shouldn’t have been there in Los Angeles.

I don’t mean in the lead. I mean in the tournament.

He should have quit…

He should have quit years before, when he had traveled so much playing in golf’s minor leagues that he once saw his wife for only eight days during a four-month stretch.

He should have quit when he failed to qualify for one tournament, drove 14 hours through the night to the next and failed again.

FREE BOOK: 7 Life Lessons from a Failed Mini-Tour Golfer

He should have quit when everyone told him that you don’t make it as a PGA Tour player these days when you’re 5’8″ and not built in the most athletic way.

His wife should have given up on him when he would travel for two months playing golf and come back home having won less money than he’d spent.

His wife should have given up on him after the 500th lonely night in bed, longing for the man she loves to return home.

His wife should have given up on him when she was working 70-80 hours each week in a Reebok distribution center, making barely enough to break even.

“That’s one reason I almost hung it up,” McGirt said. “She busted her butt for seven years. For two of those years, she was paying all the bills.”

William McGirt is one of thousands of aspiring professional golfers who kept thinking about quitting.

Only he never did.

His wife, Sarah, is one of thousands of spouses of dreamers who kept thinking about throwing in the towel on her husband’s dreams.

Only she didn’t.

Sure, they came close many times.

“I basically told my wife, I said, this is it, we are practically out of money,” McGirt said. “… I was lucky I had a few people help me out here and there. Thank goodness my parents supported me 100 percent of what I was trying to do.”

No one would have blamed them if they’d quit. They could’ve settled into a life of comfort back home and perhaps settled into what Thoreau so famously called “a life of quiet desperation.”

Desperate to know what might have been.

Desperate to work towards something meaningful.

Desperate to remember what it was like to dream.

But the McGirts didn’t settle for a life of quiet desperation. Instead, they sacrificed. They hurt. They continued to dream.

They dreamed when they were together.

They dreamed when they were apart.

They dreamed on cross-country car trips to another bush league tournament.

They dreamed when their bank account screamed not to.

They dreamed.

Because it’s only in the dreaming that they could truly live. And now…they can live out their dreams.

Action item: Identify one dream that you will not quit on. Do something today to get you closer to reaching it.

Today, McGirt has earned more than $2.7 million in a little over three years. He walks the fairways with people like Tiger Woods. He now gets to travel with Sarah and their son, Miles. They are living out their dreams…together.

You may have thought from the title that this was going to be some get rich quick scheme. It’s not. It’s about what truly matters to William McGirt…and it’s about what truly matters to you.

What dream are you not willing to give up on? Whose dream can you support today?

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33 thoughts on “How William McGirt Made $2.7 Million in 3 Years Doing What he Loves

  1. David Mike says:

    Wow, what a great story of determination and support. I will not give up on writing my book! I support other people’s dreams by being a Cosmetology Instructor. I daily get to watch my students grow and develop skills that get them closer to graduation and employment in their life long dream of becoming a stylist. Sometimes, it’s the first thing they have ever completed in their life! The best part about what I do is when I receive a hand written note upon graduation, telling me how I have impacted them. Doesn’t get any better!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Love it!

      I’ve never been a teacher in the traditional sense but I know that feeling from blog readers. It’s amazing how one note keeps me fueled for at least two months!

  2. Jon Stolpe says:

    I’m dreaming of making a big difference in a village in Guatemala. I dream of helping to build 100 homes for widows and orphans in this little village. So far, I’ve built one. 99 more to go!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is awesome Jon!

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Dream big or go home! Right?!

    2. Lily Kreitinger says:

      I’m absolutely positive you’ll make it Jon. WOOT!!!

      1. Steve Pate says:


    3. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      That is totally awesome Jon!

    4. Steve Pate says:

      So Jon, what can WE do to help your dream?

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Steve, So cool that you would ask! (1) Pray. (2) Keep encouraging me to pursue this dream. (3) Donate to GO! Ministries or Casas por Cristo who I’m working with in Guatemala. (4) Go with me on an upcoming trip to Guatemala. I’m going pack this summer with my family. I don’t think we’ll be building a house this time, but we’ll be ministering directly to the widows and orphans of the village. (You can read about my last two trips there by searching for Guatemala on my blog.)

      2. Chris Bailey says:

        So awesome, keep up the incredible work buddy!! My girlfriend just got back from leading a trip to Guatemala, and she couldn’t say enough good things about the work folks are doing down there (she worked with an organization named Pura Vida). Keep being awesome dude.

      3. Jon Stolpe says:

        Thanks, Chris!

  3. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Wow. And to think that I get frustrated when I read my blog stats and see low activity. HA! As a wife, I completely understand both sides. I would feel frustrated and tired too, but if I’m not my husband’s #1 Cheerleader, who is? I can relate to our life when we looked at buying a home for seven years. We hustled, saved and looked at about 200 homes. We just wanted a place to hang our hat. Now we have our dream home and it’s a place we love. People get surprised and think it was an overnight process. It wasn’t. We prayed like crazy, we worked hard, we saved up for it. Next goal is to pay it off! 🙂

    1. Steve Pate says:

      Great quote in there, “if I’m not my husband’s #1 Cheerleader, who is?”-that is so true, I’m nothing without my wife.

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        Amen to you and @lilykreitinger:disqus!

  4. Steve Pate says:

    to draw the hearts of Dad’s and their kids together through means of fishing!! And support my sons dreams even at age 7 almost 8.

    Also to come along side other non-profit leaders and prove to them they can make a great honest wage and not have to work for less than minimum wage.

  5. Joshua Rivers says:

    My dream? To be like Matt McWilliams 🙂

    Seriously, though, I still have a dream of being fully a solopreneur with my business. It’s been hard to find the time to put into it like I need to, but I have my cleats on and digging into the ground.

    I helped to support my wife through nursing school. It was almost 7 years all together, but we did it debt-free and she now makes more than I do. I have to work 55 hours to match her 40 hours 🙂 Now to pass hers with my business!

    1. Jim Woods says:

      So very cool Joshua. It’s great watching you hustle!!!!!

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        Yes it is! @jwrivers:disqus

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      HA! You’re doing all the right stuff bro. Just keep at it. Your breakthrough is coming sooner than you think.

  6. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    I have a few dreams I’m not willing to give up on. One is building a brand and a reputation that allows me to influence millions and collaborate with and be friends with the people I admire and look up to today. Another is to have the means to absolutely, completely spoil my wife and help her open the bakery she wants to own. One I’ve never vocalized to anyone (until just now) is to become part owner of the Seattle Sounders.

    Who’s dream will I support today? I have several close friends who I encourage daily and stand at the ready to help however I can to move towards their dreams!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      DUDE. I LOVE that goal. To own a sports franchise.

      I am going to challenge you, though. New Goal: Own it outright, with millions to spare.

      Go. Do it.

      You inspire me bro. Keep it up.

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        Sounds good to me! Will you and your family be my guest in the owner’s box? 🙂

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        First game. I’m there.

  7. Heidi Bender says:

    I will not give up on my dream of obtaining a church organist position! I am supporting my niece’s dream of becoming a hair stylist by going to her salon where she is an apprentice when she needs a volunteer to work on.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Very cool!

      I wonder if David Mike (see comment below) could be of any help?

  8. Jana Botkin says:

    Such great lofty dreams! One day I will say “I used to sort of know Jon, Steve, Mark. Lily, Matt, Joshua, Heidi and David!” You all inspire me in my weenie dream of making enough money with my book to buy my #1 cheerleader a new(ish) truck so we can go to other cabin communities and publish more books on historical cabin communities.

    And by golly, if a note can keep you going for 2 months, Matt, it is time for me to write you a note!

    1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Well Jana, I hope you’ll take time from your book publishing to come hang out with us!!

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      Considering that 98% of the population never has a dream even that big, I wouldn’t call it “teenie.”

  9. Not sure why this is recently trending given it’s over 6 months old, but anyone who knows Will(iam) and Sarah should know that they’ve never acted anything other than grateful for their opportunities (from the mundane to the glamorous). This article makes it sould like Will wasn’t a very good golfer and that Sarah worked only to pay the bills. Neither are true. I get that you were trying to write a story of inspiration and dream-chasing, but they don’t see it as a Cinderella story. Were you to have actually interviewed them and gotten their consent for this piece, you might have gotten an even better (true) story

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Hey, thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

      It’s trending because William’s dad shared it. He wrote to me and said “Matt, I just stumbled upon your article about William quite by accident and wanted to thank you for the kind words and for telling his story.”

      I knew William as his instructor back in college was good friends with my father and we played a lot of the same tournaments. We had similar backgrounds. Neither of us got to play much of a national schedule, we didn’t travel to every tournament, and I certainly know that his parents were hard-working folks who supported William all the way through.

      I also know that he is extremely grateful. I’ve read numerous articles where they talk about how he thanks the volunteers and goes out of his way to express gratitude for how well tour players are treated.

      I also know that William WAS a very good golfer. I think he won the conference championship at least twice, right? And he won the NC Amateur and a bunch of other tournaments. But he also wasn’t “the next big thing.” He had to work to get on tour (doesn’t everyone really though?). He wasn’t given sponsors invites or sponsorships right out of college. He did it the hard way…6 long days of Q School.

      I hope that clarifies some things. I really do appreciate your insight.

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      You appear to know Mr. McGirt, and I know that Matt knew him back in college. I do not. I didnt know who he was until I read Matt’s post. And I never got the impressions from the piece that you’ve hinted at. It didn’t sound like someone who was a “Cinderella story”. It sounded like a man who knew what he wanted and refused to give up until he got it…and a family who loved, supported and sustained him…and continues to do so today. It sounds like a real life success story, and it makes me have a HUGE amount of respect for his determination, work ethic and talent! Just the opinion of someone that took the post at face value with no bias of actually being in the golf world or knowing Mr. McGirt.

  10. Denis Dickinson says:

    I have a dream of “Standing with Seniors” who are experiencing Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their family in navigating systems of care to provide 24 hour care for them. I am currently a conservator of my grandmother of 84 years old, she is on a fixed income and had to be placed in a nursing home because lack of family involvement. I believe this is unfair and very common occurrence for families to be spread out too thin to maintain care at a family’s home.
    With my background in Counseling and my experiences with my grandmother I hope to be a reminder, a voice, and Care Coach to families to “Stand with Seniors” and discover ways to care for their family through any circumstance. We can do so much more when we “Stand Together.” So let’s become aware of this epidemic of aging “Seniors” slipping away into nursing homes and find new, efficient ways to care for our “Seniors” today at home before they are gone tomorrow.
    Learn more about my advocacy for family caregivers at http://www.choiceiseverything.com
    Thank you for reading my story!
    D-Exclusive Denis Dickinson

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