For anyone who hasn’t already heard, Logan, my oldest son won the right to compete in the national Drive, Chip, and Putt contest put on by the PGA, USGA, and Augusta National Golf Club. There was a local qualifier, then a regional qualifier, from which the winner won the opportunity to compete at Augusta National the Sunday before the Masters. Basically this is the equivalent of being on the field with all of your favorite players at the Superbowl. 17,000 kids from across the country began the competition and it was then narrowed down to the top 11 kids from 4 age categories, both boys and girls. Logan was competing in the 7-9 year old division.
How about I give you a bit of background info on how he started his golf career? When he was about a year old he watched his older brother (a big two year old and a lefty) swing a golf club. So Logan gripped it the same way, but as a right hander. Meaning that he plays cross-handed which is fairly rare. Both boys began their golf careers practicing at The Hitting Zone at Barkley village. We are so lucky to have had so many people be supportive of the boys and they loved hitting the range for practice and to see Dean and Chico. Once they were big enough and had the patience and skills to hit a course we started them out at Raspberry Ridge Golf Course, a 9 hole par 34. Being a bit of a smaller course it was a great place to start both of the boys. Thanks to John and Leanne to working with our family and trusting us with your course. We were there for a few years and then it was obvious the kids were ready to move on to something a bit bigger. As luck would have it the Bellingham Golf and Country Club was having a special to recruit new members. So, that is how we ended up at our current amazing home course (thanks Trent, Mike, Connie, Rick). We love all of the people there and couldn’t be happier.
Okay, back to the story of our trip…
We arrived in Augusta on Friday afternoon and enjoyed a bit of relaxing pool time as well as a couple hours in the special game room they had set up for all of the Drive, Chip, and Putt contestants. Saturday morning was spent at the practice course they had designated and Logan hit some good drives, chipped a bit, and putt (although I didn’t think that anything could have prepared him for the “tournament” speeds of the Augusta National greens). At noon he had to register where they had him sign his name on the official tournament roster, gave him his special uniform which consisted of a hat and a hunter green polo (all of the 11 regions were designated by color), and then interviewed him. That night they took a photograph of all the contestants and provided dinner. We were honored to meet many of the Golf Channel announcers, the head of the PGA, the president of Augusta National, and the amazing Condolezza Rice. She was there for the dinner as a representative of the golf course. What an amazing opportunity. It was early to bed that night as we had to wake up at 5:30am the next morning to head to the course. One of the coolest things that happened that I think was probably lost on Logan was that we all rode in on Magnolia Lane, the players entrance. Holy cow! They swept both Logan and Matt away to do their official duties and Jordan and I were escorted in to the Founders room for breakfast. The competition for Logan’s group officially started at 8am and we were ready and waiting for him at the driving area. By random draw, Logan was chosen to go last. When it was almost his turn I was very happy that it was Matt down on the course with him because I was so nervous I thought I might toss my cookies. All I wanted for him was to put a ball in play. As golf goes a 30 yard wide fairway isn’t very wide. Kudos to Logan as he put both balls about 160 yards out in the grid. Moving over to the chipping area, again Logan was to go last. He had two balls that he needed to put as close to the pin as possible. He did just that and ended up winning the chipping portion of the competition. On to putting where he had a 6, 15, and 30 foot putt. With the exception of the 6 foot putt on super fast greens he was absolutely amazing! We are so proud of him and think that second place in this national competition is something to celebrate! After he was done competing we had lunch in the founders room and then got to meet so many of the golfers that the boys have watched on TV. Bubba Watson (who won the Masters tournament this year), Keegan Bradley, Harris English, Tom Watson, Ken Duke, and many more. However my personal favorite was Fred Couples. Fred took Logan under the ropes on the 10th tee box and had him chip using one of his clubs. It was a pretty special moment.
All in all, an amazing trip and while people say it was a once in a lifetime thing, we are hoping to be back there again next year. Both Logan and Jordan are automatically able to compete in the local qualifier this year. If you are interested in signing your kids up, just visit the Drive, Chip, and Putt website. It was an amazing experience!
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