Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 9, 2012

A future PGA player?

Logan Barker, 14, eyes career as a pro golfer

VALDOSTA — It is a mostly sunny day in June. The temperature is in the mid-80’s and school is no longer in session. Most rising high school freshman are spending the day sitting by the pool, spending time with friends or relaxing by playing video games.

Everyone except Logan Barker. Instead, the 14-year old is hard at work on the golf course.

Sporting his purple Nike polo, gray shorts and white belt, Barker places a ball down onto the driving range at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, takes a deep breath and hits the ball right down the middle of the practice range. He repeats this process, while switching clubs, for nearly six hours each day.

This is all in a days work for Barker, who hopes to become the next rising star on the PGA TOUR.

While Barker, who says he looks up to three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, hopes to compete on golf’s highest-level one day, he knows the amount of hard work it will take to get there. For now, he is working hard and competing in both Junior PGA and American Golf Junior Association events, which granted him $4,500 in 2012.

He can use the money granted to him from the AGJA for various expenses, such as entry fees to tournaments, transportation and food.

“It covers everything he may need for a weekend at a tournament,” said Logan’s father, Jay Barker, who became a professional golfer in 1993.

Between the Junior PGA and the AGJA, Barker currently competes in 15-20 events a year, going as far as North Georgia and Tennessee to compete.

When he isn’t competing in events, or doing homework, he is hard at work at Kinderlou Forest, where is a member. And while he spends much of his time working by himself on the driving range, the future Lowndes Viking also works with Kinderlou’s Golf Professional, Bill Robinson, who said Barker has a special gift and talent.

“I see Logan out here practicing a lot, he hits a lot of range balls,” said Robinson. “And somebody that has that desire, it means a whole lot.”

Robinson is the third different PGA professional to work with Barker, who has also worked with JR Leonard at Francis Lake Country Club and Chris Dixon, the former professional at Kinderlou Forest.

“It means a lot,” said Barker of the help he has already received. “I am very thankful to have this course and all the people that have helped me.”

The hard work Barker has already put into the game of golf has already paid off. He has already managed to shoot in the 60’s — a 69 to be exact — at Kinderlou Forest, one of the toughest courses around.

“He is a big kid and he hits it a long ways for a 14-year old. And length is so important now-a-days,” said Robinson. “So, he is only going to get better. Each tournament that he plays in, he is going to learn from his mistakes and hopefully he will get better as he gets older.”

With Barker continues to improve his golf game and rise through the ranks of golf, the pressure will also rise, something he says he already feels.

“I just try to put that (pressure) behind me and try to play. It is all about having fun,” Barker said. “And not getting too angry and throwing clubs and everything — just a cool, calm game.”

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