Siblings take rivalry to the course

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

NATCHEZ — Kyle Helbling is practicing to become a professional golfer when he grows up. His younger brother Austin enjoys the game of golf but wants to be a doctor. But when the two step on the putting green at the Norman Puckett Junior Golf Academy, they only have one thing in mind — topping their brother.

Kyle, 8, started playing when he was 4 years old, Austin was proud to say that he started when he was 3. But Kyle believes he still has a leg up on his younger sibling.

“He’s good at hitting (the ball), but I have to teach him how to hit it softer,” Kyle said about his brother’s game.

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Austin, 5, was quick to say that sometimes he is able to beat his older brother in contests, even though he is three years younger.

“He’s good, but my brother does bad sometimes,” Austin said.

Kyle already has high aspirations for his golfing career, he said.

“I like golf, because I always try to make a hole-in-one,” he said. “My dad (Jody Helbling) told me he wanted me to be a professional golf player.”

Kyle said that has become his goal too, and he is learning a lot about playing golf at the academy.

“(I came) because I wanted to be a better golfer,” he said. “I learned that it’s not all about hitting. I’m working on trying to make it in (the hole) in two (putts).”

Austin said he is more of a fan of hitting the ball as far as he can.

“I like to chip and putt, but I like hitting it out (on the course) and riding on the cart,” Austin said. “I like coming out and playing.”

During the golf academy Monday, Kyle was the one who bested his brother by winning the 70-foot putting challenge. It took Kyle three putts to find the hole and the other competitors, including Austin, took at least five strokes.

Kyle said he and his brother have a lot of competitions against one another.

“Sometimes we get stuff from my dad (for winning),” he said.

Duncan Park Golf Director Greg Brooking said both brothers showed potential when they stepped on the course early in the camp.

“The second day out here we had some extra time, and they hit balls on the range,” Brooking said. “Both were striking the ball well and showed they had good motion. They show a lot of potential.”

Brooking said he hopes they continue to enjoy the game and work on realizing their potential.

“I hope they keep playing. They seem to be having fun,” he said.

The Helblings are both students at Cathedral School.

The golf academy meets each Monday in June to introduce young golfers to the basics of the game. For more information about the camp visit the Duncan Park pro shop.