Third-generation golfer has pro ambitions

Third-generation golfer has pro ambitions

August 7th, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

Charlie Chambers III's final score of 13 over par at the Tour Division Regional at Springbrook Golf and Country Club in Niota, Tenn., earned him first place by three strokes.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLAIM TO FAME

Charlie Chambers III, 11, is a third-generation golfer who has finished in the top nine of every Toyota Tennessee Golf Association tournament he has played this year. On July 18-19, he finished out his second season by winning the Boys 10-13 class of the Tour Division Regional at Springbrook Country Club.

ABOUT HIM

* School: Sixth-grader at Lakeview Middle.

* Siblings: Sister, Brittany, 15.

* Best round he's shot: 36 on the back nine at Brainerd Golf Course.

TALENT SHOW

Do you know a child age 17 or younger with a precocious talent in academics, athletics or the arts? The Times Free Press is searching for children to feature in "Talent Show," which appears in the Life section on Tuesdays. To nominate a child as a possible subject of a future feature article, email staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or call him at 423-757-6205.

To some, playing golf can be as frustrating as it is relaxing, but when Charlie Chambers III hits the links he's carrying on a family tradition.

Charlie's father and grandfather both teed up for the first time when they were children. When Charlie turned 4, his father thought it only natural for the next generation to follow suit.

In August 2004, Charles Chambers Jr. took his son to Concord Golf Course off East Brainerd Road, the same course where Charlie's grandfather introduced him to the game in 1967.

"I wanted to take him to where I first started," Chambers said. "Golfing is something that has always been a part of me and my dad and our family.

"To know and learn golf, especially to compete, you need to start really young. I figured I'd introduce him to it, and if he liked it, I could teach him about it. He liked it, and we went from there."

Charlie's father golfed throughout high school and continued semi-professionally on the Florida Tour in the 1980s before retiring to "get a real job."

Ever since Charlie's first nine holes, playing with his father has been as inspirational as watching his golfing idol, Aussie PGA golfer Adam Scott. About four years ago, Charlie said, he started trying to match his father, stroke for stroke.

"Watching my dad play was a good demonstration," Charlie said. "I like to spend time out there playing with him and just have father and son time together."

Last year, Charlie began competing in the Boys 10-13 class of the Tennessee Golf Association Junior Tour. Despite golfing with his father at local courses such as the Brainerd Golf Course and Brown Acres Golf Club since before entering kindergarten, the 15 competitive tournaments he played the last two seasons have been eye-opening.

"It puts lots of pressure on me, and I like that feeling," Charlie said. "It raises my self-esteem, and it makes me play harder and give it all I got."

His first season, Charlie typically finished out in the middle of the pack. After a year of almost daily trips to play nine holes with his father or drive about 150 balls into the range, however, he said, his skills have dramatically improved.

Between June 5 and July 19, Charlie played in eight TGA events, placing in the top nine at each one. He finished second during events at Brown Acres Golf Club and Fall Creek Falls State Park Golf Course. On June 25, he beat out 12 other golfers to win a tournament at Brainerd Golf Course.

Charlie closed out his season on an equally high note. His final score of 13 over par at the Tour Division Regional at Springbrook Golf and Country Club in Niota, Tenn., put him three strokes ahead of his nearest competitor.

Driving about 35 yards farther and more accurately placing the ball were factors Charlie said helped to lower his handicap this year by four strokes and to win the tournament.

"Lots of practice brought me to this stage," he said. "I'm a lot stronger this year, so courses play easier than they did. With a lot of practice and positive thinking, I knew that this year I'd have a big jump."

Although he acknowledges he has a long way to go before his PGA dreams are met, Charlie said he is prepared to put in the necessary hours to perfect his game.

Even if his son never reaches that level, however, Chambers said he is proud to see another generation fall in love with the game.

Besides, he said, from here, Charlie can only continue improving.

"For an 11-year-old player, I think he's ahead of the game," Chambers said. "I think he's doing absolutely wonderfully; I think he's on track."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.