Young golf phenom continues to mature on the course

Young golf phenom continues to mature on the course
June 08
04:00 2017

13-year-old Cameron Witherspoon has been playing golf since the age of 6.  He started playing at the Winston Lake Golf Course in 2010 and his love for the game began to blossom from there. 

At the age of 5, Cameron started playing flag football for the Pfafftown Packers.  After moving on to Pop Warner football, the players were asked who did not want to be there during practice and Cameron raised his hand.

His father, Ubet, says he asked Cameron what he wanted to play and he responded with golf or bowling because of his love for those games on the Nintendo Wii.  A friend told Mr. Witherspoon about the Earnest Morris Jr. Golf Academy at the Winston Lake Golf Course and once he took Cameron there, it was love at first sight.

“He has the God given-gift to be able to play golf and his swing is something you really can’t teach,” Mr. Witherspoon said.  “I don’t even play golf, so everything I’m saying came from other people.”

“Once the coaches that were there told me about his gift, I made sure he kept doing what he was doing.  He did a lot of it on his own by going to the course and his talent continued to develop,” Mr. Witherspoon went on to say.

Cameron soon started to take private lessons from Anne Marie Goslak of Oak Valley Golf Club in Advance.  Goslak is a former player on the LPGA tour and she feels as though Cameron has the talent to go as far as he wishes.

“He has great hand-eye coordination and he is a natural athlete,” Goslak said.  “I think his potential is limitless, honestly.  If he continues to work hard, I could see him playing in college and even perhaps on the PGA tour.  I would not be surprised to see him get that far but there are a lot of factors that go into that.”

Goslak says that Cameron has the uncanny ability to take instruction and apply it immediately.  She says he can make adjustments in 15 minutes while it may take others weeks or months to do the same.  On the flip side she says sometimes he can get a little cocky and hit shots that he maybe shouldn’t.  She says he is a very humble kid overall.

She says as Cameron begins to play in more tournaments around the country, he will be one of the few African-Americans playing.  She thinks if he is able to overcome that hurdle, he will do fine.  Goslak says she coaches him in a way that makes him aware of what he will face going forward in his golfing career.

“Because he is a minority he will kind of stick out and I don’t know how comfortable he will be with that,” she said.  “That’s also part of the coaching I am giving to him and that’s to be comfortable in any setting that he is in.  I am thrilled an honored to be a part of his journey.”

“With him being one of the few if not the only African-American at some of these tournaments, it’s a lot of responsibility.  In a sense he represents his family, he represents me as my student and that’s a lot of pressure.  He also represents his gender and his ethnicity and that is rough because you kind of have a bullseye on your back.  Hopefully as our society continues to grow, he will be looked upon as a golfer and not “the black golfer.”

Cameron has played in individual golf tournaments both locally and out of state.  Over the course of several years, he has racked up more than 50 trophies and medals.  He is a seventh-grader at Northwest Middle School, where he also plays golf.  This past season, he was recognized by head coach James Bailey as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the team, leading them to an undefeated record. 

According to Cameron, he says he was drawn to the sport of golf after swinging the club the first couple of times.  He says he lives by the old cliché practice makes perfect in order to get better.

“I really just like going out to the golf course and having fun,” Cameron said.  “I enjoy seeing the things I do wrong and then going back to fix my mistakes.”

Cameron says he used to look up to Tiger Woods but since Tiger has not played recently, he is looking to find another golfer to idolize.  He says he tries to pattern his game after five-time major winner Phil Mickelson because of the way he attacks the golf course.

For Cameron, he says he not only thinks he can make it to the PGA tour but also thinks he can win some championships.  Heading into the eighth grade, he says he is looking forward to going undefeated once again and coming home with another MVP trophy. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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