Story by Stephen Wise, Photo provided by GoFlashWin
At the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga., Dustin Johnson and Wesley Bryan, two of the most well-known Dutch Fork graduates are closely inspected and scrutinized by millions around the globe. Among those watching are high schoolers who are on the same path as these nationally-renowned golfers.
The golf team doesn’t attract a lot of attention, despite the successful athletes the program grooms, likely because their matches and practices are held 19 miles away at Mid Carolina Country Club. It is here that the countless hours of work put in manifest themselves, here that the golfers seek to become like the players who once occupied the place they currently stand and went on to successful careers at the professional level.
“Dustin Johnson and Wesley Bryan are the two golfers who have made it from Dutch Fork, professionally, to the Masters,” senior golfer Braiden Groller said, “and it shows that people can make it from a small town to really big dreams.”
The Masters Tournament is the biggest tournament of the year for golfers, and it allows for fans and dreamers alike to watch the professional players they look up to, as well as continue to work on and develop their game.
“The Masters is one of my favorite sports events to water every year,” junior Matthew Jurgensen said, “ It’s exciting and fun to watch the very best in the world perform at such a high level. It’s like the Super Bowl of golf and there’s much hype leading up to the event.”
The fact that hard work and determination are necessary for success is not lost on current golfers on the team, and the success of former players and allure of an event like a Masters keeps that dream at the forefront of their minds throughout practices and matches.
“I see that if you work hard enough, you can make it big no matter where you’re from. I personally have worked to improve my game by practicing with the team and on my own as well,” sophomore golfer Parker Horton said. “It is important to put in time on your own because that is where growth happens. It is important for professional golfers to inspire golfers like myself since inspiration can be a driving motivator to practice and continue to get better.”
Going into playoffs, players are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and work to patch them up in order to compete for a state championship, and perhaps a larger goal later on in their career.
“I’m prepping by working on my short game and off the tee,” Matthew said. “I struggle with both of those two things so if I can get better and better in that area, my game should be more consistent and should put up better scores.”
After wrapping up his final regular season as a Dutch Fork golfer, Braiden realizes that although there is a lot to look forward to with playoffs and then college, he said he will miss this period of his life.
“It’s bittersweet with the end of my senior season, but we have playoffs coming up and I’m looking forward to that,” Braiden said. “I’m slowly realizing that this is all coming to an end and I’m definitely going to miss it.”