The earliest game of golf on record was in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1456 A.D. Garrett Landers of Sulphur Springs is far too young to recall those days. At the ripe old age of 12, Landers scored his own success in the world of golf. Recently, Landers was named by the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation as the 2008 Player of the Year for the East Texas Chapter age 10-11 boys division.
“These events are nine hole tournaments at different facilities through the East Texas area. While he does primarily play out East, Landers also participates in tournaments here in the Metroplex (Dallas/Fort Worth),” explained Justin Bailey, Coordinator of Junior Golf Operations for PGA of America, Northern Texas Section. “Along with his 10 victories on tour in 2008, Landers also qualified for the East Area Championship out at Emerald Bay Club in Bullard as well as the Tour Championship at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney. Landers was able to finish in third place at both of these events and his two day Tour Championship total was an impressive 78. Overall, Landers is one the best players for his age out in East Texas.” Players were awarded Player of the Year points by placing in the top ten of a tournament in all boys’ age divisions.
Even with all of his success, the game of golf is anything but new to Landers. According to his parents, Jon and Amy Landers, Garrett has been putting around with golf since he was just 18 months old. It has been enjoyed by his father and grandfather throughout the years. “Being able to compete at this level has been a good experience for him,” Jon Landers said. “I’ve even got to caddy for him. His goal is to play as a US Junior Amateur. Between his good grades and his passion for golf, we are hoping he will be scholarship potential.”
For the past two years, Landers has been coached by Michael Hunt. The Landers family travel a few times a week to Emory for training.
“I’ave never gotten an ace, but I led in eagles in the NTPGA,” said Landers, sixth grader at Sulphur Springs Middle School. “I have had my golf ball land in the lake a few times at the Country Club (Sulphur Springs Country Club),” he added about the hazards of the game.
Just after turning 12 years, Landers finished the Legends Tour in Dallas. “He shot 92 on one of the toughest courses around plus he has won the 13 and under division at the Country Club (Sulphur Springs Country Club) two years in a row,” his father added. “It helps to have a 50-acre backyard for golf practice. Garrett does more than just golf, but most of his interests draw him outdoors. He helps his grandfather, Ronnie Landers, with his horses in his spare time and to help earn extra money for his golf passion.”
“We have tried to get his younger sister, Morgan, involved but she doesn’t seem to hold the desire that Garrett does,” recalled his father. “Garrett gave up baseball when he was eight years old so he could focus more on golf. He has been so busy with golf tournaments that his grandmother, Deanna Landers, often escorts him to and from events when I have to work.”
From March to November 2008, Landers has competed in 23 tournaments ranging from the Azalea Trail Junior Golf Classic at Hollytree Country Club to Brookhaven Country Club (Presidents) Prep at Brookhaven Country Club. He brought home 10 first place winnings with scores ranging from 65 to 130. Landers has accumulated 38 winnings in the past two years. He competes on courses ranging from 5,800-6,600-yards in size. “Sometimes it can take up to four hours to finish,” Amy Landers, his mother, said. “There have been days when we have a talk with Garrett, making sure this is what he wants to do and reminding him that he needs to put the work into it to be successful. And then there are days he has to pull us out of the house so he can get some good drives in before sundown. It does work to get him to finish his homework.”
“Garrett hasn’t had many of his friends or classmates play golf with him. I think when they found out how good he was they were a little afraid to challenge him,” Jon Landers said. “But he does come out and play against some of my golfing buddies, and have surprised many of them along the way. Soon he will be giving me tips.” Often Landers plays against many other older, taller golfers in tournaments. Many times, he plays courses with out the opportunity to know the course prior to competition like his opponents. None of these hills or sand traps, stops him.
Next up, Landers will be competing in the Legends Junior Tour Spring Break Stableford Championship, at Cimarron Hills G&CC, in Georgetown. He’s has come along way from his days with his Fisher-Price putter.
“My dream would be to get a scholarship to SMU (Southern Methodist University in Dallas). They have a really good golf team.” Garrett ended driving the ball over 200 yards down the green.
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