By Jackie Clark, AJGA Communications
It’s easy to see the influence Jordan Spieth has over the world of junior golf. Spieth turned professional in 2012, became the second youngest to win the Masters in 2015 and has hosted the Under Armour® / Jordan Spieth Championship presented by American Campus Communities in Austin since 2014.
At the Jordan Spieth Clinic presented by Texas Mutual held on Monday, not only did Spieth give tips about golf, but also stressed the importance of friendships and having fun while on the course. When interacting with the juniors, Spieth acted like he had been friends with them for years. He even let some hit with his driver and gave a few of his clubs to them after the clinic. This realness and relatability is what makes him such a good role model through the juniors’ eyes.
“He’s an example of the talent coming out on tour that’s so young and he gives us a model for where our game could be in a short amount of time because he wasn’t playing in the AJGA that long ago,” said Daniel Martinez of Austin, Texas.
Spieth isn’t far removed from the AJGA, since he played in his last AJGA tournament in 2011. Spieth acknowledges the AJGA’s influence on his golf career, which is a reason why he gives back to junior golf.
“It’s a tremendous honor, but with it comes a responsibility. You have to do things the right way on and off the course. You have to express to [juniors] that there is a responsibility to be had, but it’s a good one to have,” Spieth said when being asked about being a role model.
Spieth gave the juniors insight on not only golf, but also about the friendships that have stuck with him.
“Recognizing that the juniors create friendships with other competitors that are often from a different part of the state or country, little do they know that they could end up being a friendship that they take onto the PGA TOUR, or whatever they do,” Spieth said.
Ariana Saenz of Porter, Texas, and Amber Park of Allen, Texas, both Texas A&M University commits, are already proving Spieth right.
“It excites me because I have a lot of friends here at the AJGA and I’d really love to be able to play with them in college and hopefully on Tour,” Saenz said. “I know college will happen, I have teammates here playing in this tournament. Just knowing that I will be able to keep those lifelong friendships is great.”
At Spieth’s clinic, he played in a closest to the hole contest with Levi Valadez of San Antonio, Joshua Grenville-Wood of London, Kristen Gillman of Austin and Saenz.
“He interacted with us well. He joked with us and said some competitive jabs. It was fun and he made us feel really comfortable,” Saenz said.
Spieth encompasses the AJGA mission of giving juniors the opportunity to receive college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
“It gives everyone that plays in these tournaments hope that they can be where he is one day,” said Baylor commit Ryan Grider of Lewisville, Texas.
Through Spieth’s actions and success, junior golfers are empowered and driven to get their golf game where his is today. Spieth has created a clear path from junior golf to college and even the PGA TOUR.