Is Davis Petty the next young phenom in the Upstate? Watch his swing and hear from the 8-year old about his golf game.
Davis Petty isn’t your average 8 year old golfer. He isn’t your average nine year old, ten year old, eleven year old and maybe twelve year old golfer either.
All it takes is watching the Spartanburg third grader hit a few shots on the range to know that there is something special about him.
“He is way beyond his years in the way he approaches the game,” said Chip Ridley, the PGA Professional at The Creek Golf Club and Petty’s instructor. “He has the ability to absorb instruction, retain it and transfer it to his swing,” he said.
Playing in age group competitions, Petty has racked up two straight 7-9 year old titles at the South Carolina Junior Golf Association All-Star tournament.
He recently finished fourth in the US Kid’s National Championship at Mid Pines in North Carolina.
“He plays in our dogfights here against grown ups and he wins,” said Mike Byce the PGA Director of Golf at The Creek. “Everyone around the club knows him and enjoys watching him play,” he said.
During the past summer it is rare for Petty to have had a day where he wasn’t at a golf course.
He has played baseball, but when he got his first bat and ball he didn’t use it like it was intended. It should have been a clue as to what sport he would gravitate to.
“I asked my parents when I started to play golf because I was too young to remember,” said Petty. “They told me I was about two and a half,” he said.
Petty’s dad Joel bought him a whiffle bat and ball. Instead of swinging it like a baseball bat, Davis hit the whiffle ball with the end of the bat like a golf club striking a ball.
When he was five his grandfather Paul Petty brought him with him to the course and he started playing in tournaments a year later.
A very good student at Pine Street Elementary, Petty would rather be on the range than in front of a video game monitor.
The only video game he plays, you guessed it, is Rory McIlroy’s golf game. He is pretty good at that too, shooting a 25 under par in one game.
“I love the competition. I am very competitive. I love to practice and I want to learn and keep getting better,” Davis said.
The family is learning how to be a golf family and help their only child make the most of his skill.
Joel and Sarah want to build a team around their young golfer to support him. Along with Ridley, they are planning the next step in Davis’s development.
“This has been a learning experience for us just as it has been for Davis. We are committed to providing the resources Davis needs to be successful,” said Joel Petty.
Many young phenoms chase tournaments and rankings all over the country. Until now Petty’s family has been content to stick to local events and allow their son to develop without any parental pressure.
“We can see how into golf he is and how well he is doing, so we are starting to look at getting him into some bigger tournaments like the US Kid’s,” said Petty’s father.
A lesson for Petty can be as much as two hours with Ridley. He practices his short game relentlessly and takes advantage of his natural swing to average around 190 yards off the tee.
“The best part of my game is from 60 or 80 yards in. I work very hard and practice those shots a lot,” he said.
Petty is a Ricky Fowler fan and a big Clemson fan. If the Tiger’s long time golf coach Larry Penley is still coaching in 10 years he will have the inside track on this member of the Class of 2029.
There are a lot of things that can happen to a young golfer to change their interest and dedication to the game.
It is not unusual for kids of Petty’s ability to burn out before they reach the level others believe they can achieve.
But just like his swing, Petty’s understanding of the game is something adults would do well to learn.
“I like to win, but I have to take losing too. You can’t win every time,”he suggested. Some pretty good advice from someone so young.