Local youth golfer Shawn Coultoff recognized as national player of the year
Winter Garden’s Shawn Coultoff, 10, is the boys player of the year for U.S. Kids Golf.
| 2:44 p.m. March 1, 2017
WINTER GARDEN Shawn Coultoff got some unexpected news recently from his father, Eric — some really exciting, unexpected news.
Coultoff, 10, learned from his father he recently was named the 2016 U.S. Kids Golf National Boys Player of the Year alongside the girls player of the year, Karoline Tuttle, of Lake Mary. The award is presented to the top-rated boy and girl within the tour for their competitive golf season.
“I was really happy — I didn’t even know there was something called the ‘Player of the Year,’” Coultoff said.
Coultoff and Tuttle will attend this week’s PGA Tour’s Honda Classic Golf Tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, where they will formally be recognized at the PGA National Resort.
“We are very proud of Karoline and Shawn’s accomplishments made throughout the year in competitive play, and we look forward to watching their golf games develop in the future,” said Dan Van Horn, president and CEO for U.S. Kids Golf.
“(Coultoff) has fun … but when it’s time to do work, he puts in his work."
— Michael McMillan, local golf coach
Coultoff, coached by Chris Couch, of the West Orange Country Club, finished first in more than 65 tournaments as a junior golfer — including an astounding 21 wins in 2016. At the 2016 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship he placed second at 8-under par.
Michael McMillan, another local coach for the Castellucci Golf Center who is familiar with Coultoff, said the youngster really sets himself apart with his approach to the game.
“Quality, attentive practice — I would say that’s the difference-maker,” McMillan said. “(Coultoff) has fun … but when it’s time to do work, he puts in his work. And his dad has a fantastic knowledge of the game.”
Shawn’s father, Eric, is a former professional golfer.
Shawn, who said he enjoys hitting the driver the most and estimates his farthest drive at 225 yards, said he has been hard at work on improving his backswing and that he recently saw an improvement in his putting game. He is also an honor roll student at Whispering Oaks Elementary and plays other sports, too.
By winning the award, Coultoff receives an exemption for all U.S. Kids Golf events through age 18 and will get to participate alongside Tuttle in the Honda Classic Golf Pro-Am during the Honda Classic.