Victor Ciesielski - 2023 PGA of Ontario Player of the Year

Victor Ciesielski - 2023 PGA of Ontario Player of the Year


For Victor Ciesielski, hobbies are a luxury — especially during golf season. But, in the wintertime, the certified PGA of Canada professional at Galt Country Club finds a better balance. He enjoys snowboarding and playing hockey. And, this past offseason he added guitar. In learning this instrument, he discovered parallels to working on one’s golf game.
“I would start working on something for 30 minutes, get frustrated and put the guitar down,” Ciesielski says, between sips of tea, on a late January morning at Monogram Coffee Roasters in Galt, Ont. “Two or three days later I’ll pick it up again and whatever eluded me clicks. It’s the same for golf. You plateau, step away, focus on something else and always return refreshed with a new perspective.”

After an unforgettable PGA of Ontario season where Ciesielski defended his Breenie Cup run/title and won eight tournaments — including both the Assistants’ and the Tour Championships — he decompressed … a bit. This winter he enjoyed a snowboard trip with 14 friends to Revelstoke, B.C., but the rest of the time he fine-tuned his swing using Galt’s indoor golf simulator; the assistant professional also competed in some online closest-to-the-pin contests.
Ciesielski heads into 2024 feeling refreshed. Asked to explain his recent on course success, he cites time management, technology and the support of his two sponsors: TaylorMade and Adidas.

“When I was golfing for a living, I was on the course all day every day and convinced myself that I was working hard,” he explains. “Sure, I was spending time out there, but like Kobe [Bryant] once said, ‘it’s not about the time you practice, it’s about the focused practice and the amount of time you are present.’”


Technology has helped Ciesielski — especially for tournament preparation and developing a focused practice plan. After testing a variety of apps, he settled on SwingU. The intuitive GPS tracks and analyzes dozens of game statistics.
“The data does not lie,” he explains. “You see what you are good at and what you are struggling with. You can then break it down day by day, tournament by tournament. I always look at my patterns to see what parts of my game are trending in the right direction. This technology makes it easy to generate a practice plan and track your improvement.”

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Ciesielski moved with his parents to Italy when he was just two and a half years old. It was the late 1980s and many Poles, like Victor’s parents, made a plan and fled the communist country in the dying days of Soviet rule in search of a better life.
“Imagine having two young kids, picking up all your stuff and moving to a foreign country with no money, not knowing the language and not knowing anybody,” he says. “When I think of the sacrifices they made, my life is easy in comparison.”
After a couple of years working on a farm in Italy, the Ciesielskis’ immigrated to Canada and eventually settled in Cambridge, Ont. Here, at St. Michael Catholic School, Victor met a lifelong friend who introduced him to golf. Before long, it was his favorite pastime. In 1997, he joined Galt Country Club as a junior member and two years later landed a job in the back shop.
“I figured out that if you were an employee you got a free membership!”

Ciesielski continued to follow his golf dreams throughout his late teens and into his twenties. The milestones multiplied: a scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University, a spot on Team Canada, and finally transitioning from an amateur to a professional and competing on the Canadian Tour for several years.
A pro golf career allowed Ciesielski to travel the world and get paid to play his favourite sport. But, life as a touring professional is a grind. He always said that if, by the time he was 30 years old, he was not competing on the PGA Tour, it was time to transition to teaching. The fact that opportunity came at the same spot where he got his first job in the golf industry 25 years ago is extra special since Galt is an integral part of Ciesielski’s golf story.


“Galt has given me so much,” he says. “My parents did not have a lot of money when I was growing up, so when I started excelling at golf, the membership always passed around the hat to help me afford to travel and compete in events outside the province. I just love being back here now as an instructor.”
Beyond the wins, 2023 was memorable for a few buddies’ trips and especially a father and son Easter weekend getaway to Augusta National. Walking those hallowed golf grounds with his dad watching the Masters live and seeing Jon Rahm’s final round performance is a Sunday he’ll treasure forever.

Ciesielski mentions a couple other keys to his wins last year: eliminating negative self-talk and understanding “when to put the pedal down and when to just let things unfold.” All of his wins were special, but a pair stand out: the Ontario Assistants' Championship when he shot back-to-back 7-under rounds and the Whistle Bear Pro-Am with its fun tradition of the champion standing with the trophy under the waterfall in front of the clubhouse.
For 2024, Ciesielski’s priority is teaching and helping his clients reach their golf goals. Then, it’s about his game; he plans to play a similar competitive schedule as last year and hopefully add more trophies to his shelf.
“It’s nice to be in a position that I can give a little back to the game and also still compete,” he concludes. “I’m so fortunate. Most of the day, I might not be swinging a club, but there is usually always one in my hands.”

If you are interested in contacting Victor, he can be reached here.

Written by: David McPherson

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