Ewan Baldwin was awarded the Helen Black Award for sportsmanship and the Junior Night Champion. (Lindsey Horsting/News Gazette staff)

Ewan Baldwin was awarded the Helen Black Award for sportsmanship and the Junior Night Champion. (Lindsey Horsting/News Gazette staff)

Eight-year-old golfer loves a challenge

Ewan Baldwin has been compared to local golfer Gordy Scutt

Ewan Baldwin has had a golf club in his hand since he was one-and-a-half years old. He got his first set of plastic golf clubs for Christmas, which he shared with his twin sister Ellie.

Now, at the tender age of eight years old, he has a 25 handicap and a 200-yard drive is standard practice.

Ewan’s parents, Matthew and Susan, never pushed him to play golf, he just fell in love with it. He has been on golf courses since he was two-and-a-half and took his first official lesson at four years old at the Royal Colwood Golf Club.

Matt and Susan noticed Ewan had a knack for golfing and knew their son’s love of mastery, so at five years old they told him that if he broke 112, Matt would take him on a golfing trip, thinking this would happen years down the road. Shortly after the challenge was set, Ewan broke 110 and the Baldwins continued to up the ante until he recorded a score under 100. Ewan dropped 97 at Fairwinds Golf Course and will be taking a trip to golfer’s heaven with his dad in March for spring break. The two will be doing a southern Carolina tour playing at Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina University, Dustin Johnson’s golf course, and will pick two or three more from over 100 courses to choose from in the area.

Matt will have to keep up with his son on the trip as he admits that when he brings Ewan out to golf with his friends, Ewan stays on the fairway better than the adults.

“I’ve been playing for 30, 40 years … he’s going to be closing in on me very soon,” Matt said.

Ewan’s favourite golfer is the current World No. 1-ranked golfer and South Carolina native, Dustin Johnson, who this season is averaging a 304.5-yard driving distance.

“He hits long drives and when he hits his iron shots it goes super high and it looks really cool,” Ewan said.

Driving the ball and lining up puts are Ewan’s favourite parts of the game and he is most proud of a 70-foot put he made. He is patient and takes his time to look at the break and think about the speed of the put. He matter-of-factly said that putting at Royal Colwood is “really easy,” especially on hole 17 – in actuality the hardest hole on the course.

Ewan would like to practice more at home, but his dad doesn’t want any more divots in the lawn during the winter.

Colwood golf professional, Derek Senft has coached Ewan for two years and has been impressed with Ewan’s skill and work ethic. Ewan participates in Senft’s advanced after school program, competing with children three to five years older than him.

“He has an advanced way of thinking,” Senft said. “I’ve always provided Ewan with goals that are just a little out of his reach so he has something to work towards.”

At golf summer camp last year Ewan played so much golf his hands were cut up, but that didn’t stop him from his two-a-day routine. He worked on skills from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., took a quick break at the clubhouse and then went back outside to play nine holes. Senft says people have compared Ewan to local PGA of Canada golfer, Gordy Scutt, who at the same age was playing at Cedar Hill and winning tournaments.

Ewan won Junior Night Champion and the Helen Black award for sportsmanship at Royal Colwood, a skill that he also uses in the classroom. On the course he helps his friends with club selection, holding the pin on the putting green and raking sand traps. A Grade 2 student at Westmont Montessori, Ewan is a mentor for his peers and likes to help if there’s new students in his class, Susan said. “He is very mature. I think the Montessori program has been good for his sportsmanship skills,” she said.

Ewan also loves football and hopes to parlay a dual-sport scholarship to the University of Alabama.

For now, he will start with the Junior Vikes tournaments on the Island and try to let his parent’s lawn recuperate.

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