It’s easy to be a fan of the game of golf, but it’s much harder to be a student of the game. Two Big Country high school golfers are at the top of their game right now, and it’s helping to inspire an even younger group of golfers pick up the clubs and take their talents out to the links.
“Seeing all the people come out here and learn the game of golf, because at the end of the day, all you want is the game of golf to grow,” Cooper freshman Karson Grigsby said. “Whether you see success in yourself or not, if it’s growing the game of golf, or Cooper high school, or Abilene itself, the game of golf in Abilene.”
Cooper and Wylie have hit a hole in one with superstar golfers Karson Grigsby and Maddi Olson. In their first appearance in the District 4-5A Tournament last week, both Karson and Maddi walked away with district titles, and both are headed to regionals.
“Karson actually started playing golf before I did, so when I came in he was better than me. We had a pretty competitive dynamic growing up,” Wylie junior Maddi Olson said. “We really weren’t friends for a while, we were enemies, and we played each other, we went back and forth for a while.”
“Now we’re really great buddies, I love practicing with him, playing with him, he’s a really great kid. He’s a really great competitor,” Olson said.
Not only are they the best golfers in the Big Country, Karson and Maddi’s names are currently being recognized on a national stage. Karson, only a freshman, is ranked 491st, and junior Maddi is 169th in the world, according to the American Junior Golf Association.
“Coaching someone like Karson is a coaches’ dream. You may never in your whole entire coaching career have an athlete just like that, that puts in the time on the course and off the course,” Cooper boys coach Mitch Aston said.
“Maddi is a very very very good player. She won the state individual title as a freshman and finished third last year, helped our team to a third place finish at the state tournament,” Wylie coach Mike Campbell said.
The Big Country has produced talent on the green in the past, and Maddi and Karson are the present, looking to help grow the future golfers in the Big Country.
“It’s huge, I see little kids out here on the range all the time. It just gets me so excited,” Olson said.
“I love seeing kids growing up with the game and I really think it makes a big difference. I play with little kids all the time that have started at such a young age and to see how much farther you can come when you start so early, it’s incredible.”
“To see all the junior golfers at whether it be Diamondback or the Country Club or even out here, the one thing I always try to do is talk to them as much as possible,” Grigsby said. “It’s that one interaction that keeps them hooked.”