By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
As a toddler, Aidan Antony could often be found playing with his toy golf set which consisted of some plastic clubs and balls. His proficiency at the sport was visible even then, and his parents often remarked that he should sign up for lessons.
Eventually, they did sign him up and Aidan began to learn the rules of the game. Through practice, he harnessed his skills, and ultimately, exchanged his plastic clubs for some real ones. Now at the age of nine, Aidan is considered among the best players in his age range with the potential to be one of the best players of all time.
When he’s not at school, and if the weather permits it, Aidan can often be found at the golf course.
“I play golf at Missing Links,” he said.
Most recently, he qualified to play in the National Finals. The tournament, sponsored by Drive, Chip & Putt, a golf development initiative for young girls and boys, invited the top 80 performers to compete at what is considered “one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world,” according to the press release.
The aforementioned golf club hosts the Masters Tournament and is better known as Augusta National.
Drive, Chip & Putt, began in 2013 through a collaboration with the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America, according to its website. It’s free, and the purpose is to foster the interest in golf among America’s youth and to help young players grow the skills associated with the game.
Each year, the qualified players arrive at the tournament and compete the week prior to the Masters Tournament.
Luckily for Aidan, the competition is his favorite part of the game. Making it to Nationals, allowed him to compete with kids from all over the country, not just the city of Milwaukee.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it past locals,” Aidan said.
Not only did he make it past locals, he also did better than the year prior, Aidan explained. According to Aidan, upon arriving at the 2017 competition he realized he forgot his clubs and was unable to compete.
While the competition was at the forefront of most of the youth’s mind, Drive, Chip & Putt ensured the kids also had a fun time. They hosted a pizza party, opened a game room and took the kids on a practice round. Additionally, they were able to meet professional golf players like Sergio Garcia and Annika Sorenstam.
“It was really amazing,” Aidan said. “I was a little nervous, but mostly excited.”
On the day of the tournament, Aidan gave it his best effort. He placed in tenth for his age group.
Although he didn’t win, Aidan’s love for the game exceeds the value of any medal. He plans to be a PGA Golf Player and encourages others to try picking up the game too.
“Try mini golf,” he said. “If you like it get lessons, if you don’t like it maybe try a different sport.”