Taylor, Matt Spring enjoy junior golf academy

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Left, Taylor Spring gets a few pointers from Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking during the Norman Puckett Junior Golf Academy. Right, Matt Spring lines up his putt during the academy. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Taylor and Matt Spring are no strangers to golf, thanks to their father, James.

The elder Spring always works with them on their golf game, said Taylor, 17, so it was only natural for the siblings to sign up for the Norman Puckett Junior Golf Academy.

“I used to come here when I was 3 or 4, and I rode around in the golf cart with my dad,” Taylor said. “He knew all about golf and would try to teach us about it.”

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Matt, 10, said he would accompany his dad to the driving range, where he also picked up a few things about the game.

“I practiced with him a lot before I started coming (to the camp),” Matt said.

Matt said he and his sister are participating in the academy for the second straight year, and he’s building on learning to putt last year.

“The trick is keeping the ball lined up,” Matt said.

That’s not the only trick he’s encountered, as golf pro Charlie Callaway, who is on hand helping children learn at the camp, has no shortage of shenanigans up his sleeve.

“Wow. Just wow,” Matt said of Callaway’s antics. His sister told the story of how Callaway lined two balls up and bet everyone that he could hit the ball furthest from hole in with just one stroke — without hitting the ball in front of it.

“I know how he does it,” Taylor said. “He pushes one ball in the ground deeper than the other one, and every time he hits it, it bounces over the other one.”

Even with her father’s tutelage, Taylor said she’s glad she made it to the academy, since it adds to her knowledge of golf.

“It’s more about getting out and doing it as opposed to just watching him,” Taylor said.

Matt and Taylor both said they enjoy golfing together, and they even have a friendly little rivalry going.

“It’s fun to putt against him and see who wins,” Taylor said.

The younger sibling was more apt to talk trash.

“I’ll win,” Matt said.

“Not every time,” his sister responded.

“Yes, most of the time,” Matt insisted. “I never let her win.”

Taylor said she has beaten him a couple of times, but she’s at a bit of a disadvantage going head-to-head with her brother.

“He practices more,” Taylor said.

Golf is an enjoyable sport for Taylor, she said, but she also said it’s not as easy as it looks.

“It’s relaxing, but it’s not easier to play than basketball or baseball,” Taylor said. “Golf looks easy, but it’s not.”

Matt said he enjoys playing football, basketball, baseball and golf recreationally, but if he had to pick a favorite, basketball would get the edge.

“I want to dunk it in someone’s face one day,” Matt said.

Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking said he’s glad that James Spring is passing along his knowledge of the game to his children.

“These children are as good as they are (at golf) because he takes the time to bring his children out here,” Brooking said. “It’s good that they have him as a role model.”