A boy's iron will

Brandon Wilson, 6, of Perry Hall shows natural drive en route to U.S. Kids Golf Player of the Year award

Golf

September 01, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,Special to the Sun

When Karen Sokolis asked her Kingsville Elementary kindergarten students what they wanted to be when they grew up, many said they wanted to be doctors, police officers or firefighters.

Brandon Wilson's response was a little different.

"He said he wanted to be a pro golfer," said Robert Wilson, Brandon's father.

That may sound like a lofty goal, but Brandon has shown an aptitude for the game beyond his years.

The 6-year-old from Perry Hall won the Player of the Year award for the U.S. Kids Golf Philadelphia Southern Tour, in which children 12 and younger compete in golf tournaments. He has won all five events in which he has competed in the 6-and-under division and won by as many as 23 strokes, at the Inniscrone Golf Club event in Avondale, Pa.

He has been swinging irons almost his entire life.

"He actually started around 20 months hitting balls around the house," Robert Wilson said. "He has been able to pick it up pretty naturally."

Damon Klepczynski, Brandon's coach, said: "Brandon, for his age, is ... ahead of the curve. In terms of hand-eye coordination, he's going to be an extremely good golfer. I haven't had a kid that age that enjoys hitting golf balls that well.

"In terms of a good strength, he's a really talented kid ahead of his time."

Along with his five tour wins, Brandon also won the U.S. Kids Golf regional championship at Wyncote Golf Club in Oxford, Pa. His recent success has qualified him for the 2008 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C.

"It feels like you're on top of the world," Robert Wilson said of seeing his son win tournaments. "He's such a hard worker, good player and a good kid. He smiles a lot and loves being out there. We're so proud, and it has been an unbelievable summer."

Brandon also plays lacrosse, soccer and baseball, although when the weather gets warmer, it's all golf, all the time.

It's always up to Brandon to determine his practice schedule, however.

"If he said he doesn't want to go [to the golf course], we definitely don't go," Robert Wilson said. "I've been very careful with him and gotten some great advice from parents that have brought some kids up that were top golfers. I constantly kept up with them so I didn't go too nuts [with Brandon].

"He just likes going. He likes people watching him and talking to him about golf. He likes that the family is enthused about what he's doing. He just likes the whole thing."

So just how far will Brandon's ability take him?

"That's the million-dollar question," Klepczynski said. "Brandon is an instructor's delight and he has that X-factor. Every once in a while, we run into a junior that gets it.

"He gets it."

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