Mayfield already conquering golf courses at the age of 7; plays with maturity of an adult
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
It's simple, really.
All he needs is a few acres, a gun, bow, or golf club and ball. Or maybe a pond with a fishing pole and some worms.
He's not hard to please, and one can't help but smile when first meeting Justin Mayfield, because, with his blond hair and blue eyes, he looks like the All-American kid.
Sure, he likes hunting and fishing, but he's beginning to build a reputation on his golf.
The seven-year-old Mayfield has been playing golf since he was 2.
"When he first started, he couldn't walk for long," Bart Mayfield, dad, said. "He just picked up a plastic club. He didn't start going to the golf course until he was about two, two-and-a-half."
When Justin was two-and-a-half, he already had a set of real clubs. With cut down clubs fitted with a grip, he began making the rounds at Quail Creek in Falkville.
But, there was a problem.
"I bought him a right-handed club, but he kept trying to hit it left-handed," Bart said, who later find out his son was a lefty.
"He got me a right-handed club, and I beat the back out of it," Justin said.
Two years later, Justin entered his first tournament … as a 4-year-old.
His first tournament was the U.S. Kid's World Championships in Dadeville. He beat two older competitors, and finished second.
"There were some really good golfers down there," Bart said. "I mean, first and second shot 34."
The U.S. Kids Golf Association has its own measuring system for different age groups. In Justin's division, the course can be 1,100 yards for nine holes. A typical par 4 with be 125 yards, a par 3 will be 65 yards, and a par 5 will measure 165 yards.
Justin's best round was a 35 shot at Quail Creek just two weeks ago.
The worry of burning out…
Starting at such a young age, Bart and his wife, Dena, do express some concern of Justin burning out.
"I just want to see him have fun," Bart said. "When people first see a one year old out in the yard hitting a golf ball in the air, they think we want him to be Tiger Woods. That's not true. After seeing him play, you realize he is having a lot of fun."
As for other sports, Bart said Justin doesn't enjoy baseball, but is avid about playing golf.
"He wants to play these tournaments," he said. "We let him do it at his pace. I'll sign him up for any tournament he wants to be in."
"We are constantly checking, and gut-checking, and making sure this is what he wants to do and not what we want him to do," Dena said. "He just loves golf. He likes to do things where you compete with yourself, whether it be golf, hunting or fishing."
Dena said being proud of her son goes without saying, but she's more proud of another thing.
"The memories he has made so far, and the time he spends with his dad … that's something he will take with him forever," she said.
About U.S. Kid's Golf…
Mayfield competes in the U.S. Kid's Golf Atlanta Tour.
The Atlanta Tour is open to all boys and girls between the ages 6 and 12. It conducts one tournament per week, and players earn points for their finishes.
Mayfield currently stands fourth through three events in the seven year old division.
"When I go to the tournaments," Justin said, "I just pretend like it's me and my dad just playing. I still mess up every now and then, though."
Justin placed third in two events and sixth in another so far.
It's simple, really.
"If I can't be a golfer, I'd say I would want to do fishing," Justin said.