By Reggie Jarrett
Jax Air News Editor
It wasn't love at first sight for Andrew Davis and the sport of golf. In the beginning, he didn't take the game seriously. "At first, it was just going out to the golf course and hitting a couple of shots," he said.
"As I got older and starting competing in tournaments, it got more serious."
He was introduced to the game as a two-year-old by his father, retired Lt. Cmdr. Eddie Davis, a former Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) security officer. "My dad was in the Navy playing golf with friends and I would come along and play," Andrew said.
"I showed him how to hold a plastic golf club and swing at two," Davis said.
"He showed great form even then hitting a plastic golf ball."
It was playing golf with his father when Andrew, now 13, started enjoying the game. "It got more competitive. My dad and I would compete," Andrew said.
"Two years ago was the first time I beat him and then I really started liking that."
"It's not that competitive now," Davis said. "He is better than me."
Andrew has a three handicap, which measures a player's ability against other golfers. He also has a scoring average of 75, which is three strokes over par for an 18-hole golf course.
His father is not the only person Andrew has impressed. "He's one of the most talented golfers I've ever seen," said Angello Collins, second assistant golf pro at NAS Jax golf course. Collins has worked with Andrew as his swing coach for about a year.
It's his mental toughness that has impressed Collins the most. "His strongest attribute is dealing with adversity and not allowing it to affect him," he said.
"In golf, you have to be mentally stronger than the other competitors."
That is one of the things that Andrew likes most about the game. "I like that it is an individual sport," Andrew said. "You can't rely on anyone to help you. You have to carry yourself in golf."
Andrew plays in tournaments almost weekly and is also competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, a national junior skills competition open to boys and girls ages 7-15. He advanced to the second round of the competition to be held Aug. 26.
The North Florida Junior Golf Foundation recognized Andrew during its annual award banquet at THE PLAYERS Championship Sawgrass Aug. 16. He was named Player of the Year for his age bracket as well as winning the Jack Nicklaus Sportsmanship award for the competitive year.
Andrew eventually hopes to play golf professionally, but his more immediate goal is to get a college scholarship. "I want to go to Florida State or Alabama," he said.
According to Collins, Andrew can go far as he wants. "For someone like him who is extremely talented, the sky is the limit," Collins said. "It just depends on how far he wants to go."