By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Bailey Sutter, a six-year-old Cullman native, will soon be among one of the many children heading into kindergarten at Cullman Primary School. There, he’ll most likely learn his numbers, recite the ABCs and maybe even make a few lifelong friends along the way.
Unlike his future classmates, however, Sutter will be making a slight detour before heading making his way into the classroom.
On Sunday, Sutter and his parents will trek to Pinehurst, N.C., where the former will participate in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship against approximately 100 kids from more than 30 different countries across the globe. He is the only kid in Alabama from his age group — six-and-under — to make the cut for the prestigious event.
According to his mother, Katie Sutter, her son qualified for the three-day tournament after a solid run through a local junior tour based in Birmingham.
The two, along with dad, Hutch, are all members at TP Country Club, where Bailey loves to frequent and swing his clubs.
“He’s been playing golf since he was 18 months old,” Katie said. “He’s a huge Tiger Woods fan. His dad has been right there with him.”
During next week’s tournament, Bailey will play nine holes a round over the three-day stretch. Par will be either 35 or 36.
Yardages will be approximated to accomodate the age group. Par 3s will range from 50-90 yards, par 4s from 91-170 and par 5s from 171-240.
The young man, who likes “winning trophies,” said he was looking forward to playing with a bunch of other kids.
“Yes, I’m excited,” Bailey said. “I feel nervous, but it’s good to play. I like to play golf.”
Hutch, whose duties range between dad, coach and caddie, says he hasn’t done much in way of creating Bailey’s swing. Rather, he taught his son the very basic concepts of the game at an early age and has just been able to enjoy watching the progress he’s made in six short years.
“I wish I could say he copied my swing and got good at it,” he said with a laugh. “He’s just developed it into something good. He plays the game like it’s suppose to be played and tells us whenever he wants to go practice.”
While Bailey still might have a long way to go in regards to building and maintaining a solid golf game, his parents couldn’t be happier with the way things have gone for him starting out.
“We are definitely proud of him,” Katie said. “Especially about his passion for the game at such a young age. During one of his baseball games, he told me ‘Mom, I just love golf so much better.’ He’s been hard at it ever since.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.