Diamond and the Rough: Mackenzie Tyler’s LICSF Story
Despite being a Division 1 athlete on the softball team at Harvard University, Mackenzie Tyler credits golf as being the most impactful sport in her life. She didn’t start playing until she was 12, tagging along last minute with her dad when he needed a fourth to fill his tee time. Having never played before, Tyler said she didn’t know what to expect. However, shortly after she says she caught “the bug”, a feeling many golfers are familiar with.
“Shortly after that round all I wanted to do was play,” said Tyler. “I was asking my dad to go to the range or go and play almost every day. It took off pretty quickly.”
Even though Tyler started golfing regularly, as a multi-sport athlete she still had to manage and split her time between sports. Growing up she also played softball and basketball. With her time invested in sports already Tyler added one more to the rotation, joining the Varsity golf team at Hampton Bays High School.
“It was nice because each sport had its own season so I was able to put one on the backburner and then focus on the other when I needed to,” said Tyler.
During softball season, Tyler excelled. She was named to the all-state team twice, in both 2017 and 2018 and was a six-year letter winner. Due to the fact her middle school did not have sports teams, Tyler joined the varsity softball team as a 7th-grader. She did the same on the varsity golf team and since Hampton Bays did not have a girls golf team, Tyler was the only female on the varsity squad.
“I never thought much of it,” said Tyler. “I was always comfortable with it. I grew up around my dad driving race cars and I was the only girl there as well so it never felt weird.”
Tyler didn’t let any of her surroundings phase her, securing all-league honors her freshman through senior year of high school. She was also named team MVP in each of those four seasons, establishing herself as much more than just the only girl on the team.
One of the reasons Tyler excelled as a golfer, according to her testimony, was her time spent as a caddie at Sebonack Golf Club. Tyler said she didn’t even realize caddieing was a job that you could hold outside of the pro circuit until 2016 when she spoke with a family friend who was a bartender at a restaurant she was working at.
“He also worked on the grounds at Sebonack a few times a week, so he knew people at the club,” said Tyler. “He knew I was into golf and introduced me to the Caddie Manager and some of the caddies. I was told to just show up one morning at 10:30 and they put me out on the course, and I just started learning.”
Now six years later, Tyler still carries bags at Sebonack and says that caddieing has given her and taught her more than she could have imagined it would.
“The relationships I’ve built are insane,” said Tyler. “I’ve known some of these people for six years. I consider some of them second family. I never would have expected that but it’s why golf is my favorite sport because I don’t know what other sport you get those kinds of relationships from.”
Now a junior at Harvard, Tyler says she is forever grateful for golf and the opportunities it has provided her. Though she plays varsity softball and is no longer on a golf team, her experience caddieing led her to a scholarship from the LICSF and subsequently to Harvard where she is now a psychology major.
As for future plans, Tyler knows she won’t be looping at Sebonack her entire life. However, that doesn’t mean she wants to stop working in sports. In fact Tyler says a target for her is a possible administrative role at the USGA in the future. Regardless, golf will remain a focal point of life for Mackenzie Tyler.
“One of the first things I want to do when I start getting paychecks is join my own club, depending how large those paychecks are,” Tyler mentioned. “I want to golf my whole life and be around golf as much as I can.”
One final thought Tyler shared was her hope that more and more young girls decide to start playing the sport like she did.
“I think golf is such a great sport for girls because you can compete with the guys and there’s nothing that guys can do that we can’t do which I think is a great message.”
With a bright future ahead of her down whatever avenue she chooses, Tyler will be a great ambassador for the game, women in golf and the LICSF for years to come.