Horizon West youngster and Holy Family Catholic School student Jacob James, 6, has been making a name for himself on the Orlando and Jacksonville tours of U.S. Kids Golf.
Staying in the hotels is one of Jacob James’ favorite things about his emerging youth golf career.
Luckily for Jacob, who is 6 years old and attends Holy Family Catholic School, his strong play in the Orlando and Jacksonville local tour branches of U.S. Kids Golf Tour this summer means he’ll be spending several days in a hotel in North Carolina next August.
Jacob placed first in the Jacksonville Tour this summer and third in the Orlando Tour, meaning he automatically qualified for U.S. Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst.
What’s more, although his trips to Jacksonville for tournaments usually just consist of him and his dad, Scott James, the Pinehurst trip will include his mom and three siblings.
“All of our family will go up there for that — we’re looking forward to it a lot,” Scott said.
Jacob, who lives with his family in Summerport, started playing golf at 4 and has taken to the game quickly. In addition to playing competitively on the U.S. Kids Golf tours, he trains out of West Orange Country Club with Future Generation Golf Academy’s Brendon Chase, and the student and teacher have really hit it off.
“Brendon does everything well with him — they have an absolute, phenomenal connection,” Scott said.
Chase said the most encouraging thing he has encountered with Jacob is how receptive the youth is to direction.
“He hits it pretty far for his age and — the most important thing — he hits it right down the middle."
— Brendon Chase, youth golf instructor
“He’s coachable, and he listens very well,” Chase said. “It’s a pleasure working with Jacob.”
Jacob, who said his favorite golfer is Jordan Spieth, particularly excels off the tee, driving distances upward of 100 yards regularly (his farthest drive to date is 121 yards).
“He hits it pretty far for his age and — the most important thing — he hits it right down the middle,” Chase said.
Jacob continued his winning ways last weekend, winning the U.S. Kids Golf Orlando tour stop at Eagle Creek Golf Club. Carding a 43 (+7) for the nine-hole challenge, Jacob topped the event’s runner-up by two strokes.
Despite being busy with golf and his second sport, soccer, Jacob — ranked 11th in the state by U.S. Kids Golf — maintains good grades at Holy Family and is praised as a student who enjoys helping others.
Jacob, his coach and his dad all agree putting is an area that needs improvement within his game, but “Team Jacob” can’t help but be excited about how well the youngster has taken to the game — or what else might lie ahead.
“He doesn’t even realize what his potential is yet,” Scott said. “He just has fun.”