Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Ali Jalil
Catch Johnny Garstka during the week and you’ll see him at his finest, filled with all the financial advice and knowledge you’d expect of someone who spends his days at The Harvey Group. “I became a financial advisor for three major reasons: I enjoy connecting with others and building relationships based on trust, I am passionate about financial planning and investing, and I love helping people work towards achieving their goals,” he says. “To be able to do all three makes coming to work fun every day. I’m also extremely fortunate to work on a great team at the Harvey Group, so that makes work even more enjoyable.”
Even with the challenges of the finance industry, Garstka stays passionate about his work. “I would call myself an optimistic/glass half-full person in general, so maintaining a positive mindset is something that comes naturally to me,” he says.
“I view challenges as opportunities for growth. Without challenges and obstacles, life would be boring. The more that we challenge ourselves on a consistent basis, the more we can achieve in life.”
An avid golfer and skier, Garstka takes his love of challenges and puts it to work on the slopes and on the fairway. “During golf season, you can find me teeing up at Springfield Golf & Country Club and competing in amateur tournaments around the state of Virginia,” he notes. “I enjoy skiing during the winter months and there is nothing like a fresh powder day out west! I really enjoy spending time outdoors and on the water. I also enjoy reading, working out and spending time with family and friends.”
Had he not followed his current path, Garstka would have loved to explore becoming a professional golfer. “I truly love to compete,” he says. “As you improve at golf and start to shoot lower scores, it becomes more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Arnold Palmer once said, ‘Golf is a game of inches. The most important are the six inches between your ears.’ Additionally, golf is a game of integrity and it can teach us many life lessons, such as the importance of being honest, problem solving, patience, respect for others and to never stop learning.”
"There are many parallels between golf and our financial lives. In golf, great players create a game plan for each hole before a round to shoot the lowest score that they can. Similarly, when building a financial plan, we need to clearly understand your specific goals ahead of time, so we can provide personalized advice and increase the chances of achieving your goals."
So... What's really in HIS golf bag?
Bag: PING makes fantastic golf bags. Their Hoofer Golf Bag is their most popular model and for good reason; it is extremely sturdy and light, which makes it a great bag for someone who primarily walks when they play. It also has enough pockets to hold everything you need. I cannot recommend the bag enough.
Ball Markers: I always keep a handful of ball markers in my bag. The ones in the photo are some of my favorites. I picked up a Masters and Open Championship ball marker at those respective tourneys when I attended them in person. Arcola Country Club is a great track located in New Jersey that co-hosted the U.S. Amateur last year. Springfield Golf & CC is my home course where I grew up playing. Finally, the Clemson ball marker commemorates one of the Tigers’ recent national championship football seasons (I attended Clemson University for both undergraduate and graduate school).
Balls: I play with the TaylorMade TP5 ball. I used to be a Titleist ProV1 fan, but I switched to TaylorMade a few years ago and never looked back. I swear by the TP5. It provides an outstanding feel and spin on every shot.
Clubs: Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (10.5 deg), 3-Wood: TaylorMade M2 HL (16.5 deg); Irons: Wilson Staff FG Tour V2 (3-9); Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (46 deg), Titleist Vokey SM7 (52 deg, 56 deg, 60 deg); Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast Single Bend
Gloves: I prefer FootJoy’s StaSof gloves. They are extremely comfortable and consistently provide a great feel.
Rangefinder: I use Bushnell’s Tour V4 Shift Golf Laser Rangefinder. This helps me dial in my distances on the course and hit higher quality shots closer to the hole on a consistent basis. Using a rangefinder allows me to feel confident in the actual approach yardage number on every hole. This helps me be a better player. If you don’t know your approach yardage number, you are guessing. Guessing leads to lower confidence and lower quality golf shots.
Scorecard & Yardage Book Holder: The scorecard and yardage book holder that I use conveniently fits in my back pocket and helps me keep my scorecard and yardage book organized throughout my rounds. I picked this one up last summer when I played at Baltusrol Golf Club for the first time. Baltusrol is a private 36-hole club located in New Jersey and it has hosted multiple major championships. If you ever get the chance to play it, don’t think twice!
Sharpies & Alignment Tool: I always keep a few sharpies in my bag to mark my golf balls. Additionally, I putt with a line on my golf ball. Some golfers prefer using a line while others prefer no line. I found that lining up my putts takes some of the guesswork out of putting and has improved my confidence on the greens. Softspikes’ Golf Ball Alignment Tool is a great addition to my bag and I use it to mark all of my golf balls.
Sunscreen: With how much time golfers spend outdoors, we are likely at higher risk for skin cancer. Because of this, I always keep some sunscreen in my golf bag. Lately, I’ve been using Sun Bum spf 30.
Tees: I prefer wooden golf tees over plastic tees and I always keep my bag stocked with a good supply of tees.
Towel: A good golf towel is essential for any golfer to keep both their golf balls and clubs clean throughout every round. Additionally, it’s extremely important to keep our grips dry on both rainy days and hot summer days when our hands may get sweaty. I picked this towel up at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course at last year’s Portsmouth City Amateur Golf Tournament, where I competed.
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