By Hale Hughes
DALLAS — One of Woodville’s own made his mark on the links over the past few weeks during tournament play. Dawson Wainwright who is a 2016 graduate from Woodville High School is enrolled at the Golf Academy of America after being accepted into the summer semester along with 77 other students.
Wainwright has played in approximately 12 tournaments over the summer. He began playing golf when he was a freshman at Woodville under the tutelage of Coach Troy Carrell, Coach Ronnie Brown and Coach Jason Drake.
Wainwright hit his first hole in one on July 9 at Las Colinas in Dallas on the seventeenth hole. Las Colinas was named by Avid Golfer Magazine as one of the best private clubs in 2017.
Wainwright described it as a relatively short par-three hole with a bunker on the left. Wainwright said that his thought process was to land the ball a few feet past the hole and spin it back toward the hole. Wainwright steadied himself for the shot and swung and said, “I had the yardage down pat, because it never bounced or anything. It went straight in the cup.” He continued, “I was confused at first because the ball just disappeared. I knew there was no way I hit it too far, but I we all heard a ‘click’ noise, so we looked around to see if any branches had been hit.” Wainwright said that another player on the course confirmed to him that he indeed ‘holed out’ and the group Wainwright was with all celebrated this unique moment with him. Wainwright said, “I dropped my club and threw my hands in the air and was like ‘Heck yeah!’”
Wainwright said that hitting his first hole-in-one was exciting, but pretty much resumed his normal routine after the round and went on about his regular schedule the following week. The whole academy was aware of Wainwright’s accomplishment and said comments were made around campus throughout the week like, “Hey, Ace!” as if to give him a new nickname.
The next tournament Wainwright participated in found him at the Watter’s Creek course. This was a match play tournament and some comments were made to Wainwright prior to the game in which his competitor said to him, “Now don’t go making any more shots like last week,” as the two laughed it off and began playing. Wainwright said that his group was preparing for the ninth hole, which he described as another short par three. He said his thought process was the same as what he had the week prior and planned on hitting the ball just past the flag and spinning the ball back to the cup. “I got a nice little gap wedge and choked down on it a little bit and hit a nice low trajectory shot to hold the ball against the oncoming wind that day.” He continued, “Sure enough, I landed the ball about a yard past the flag and the ball spun back right into the cup. It was as if I had completely called the shot.”
Wainwright was quick to share the credit of his newfound popularity for making two holes in one in as many weeks. “I have to give credit to my teachers and to my swing coach. I’ve just learned so much since I’ve been here,” Wainwright said. “It’s ridiculous how much I’ve learned from coach Nathan Grafe. I definitely couldn’t sum it all up from just techniques and taking lessons from him. I never knew that I had as much room for improvement as what he has shown me. It shocked me how well comprehending what he was teaching me and how well I was learning it and being able to execute those things on the course.”
Wainwright says he hopes to one day play on the PGA Tour but also says students graduate from the academy with teaching certificates and are able to be a player/coach if certain requirements are met, so multiple job options are available for Wainwright after he graduates. Wainwright says playing in the PGA has been a dream of his ever since he started playing and that he is focused on golf now more than ever.
Since making the second hole in one, many other players and students have asked Wainwright what he is doing right. He said it’s just being dialed in to your game and focusing on the fundamentals, techniques and skills learned from quality practice. Wainwright was asked if it was just repetition, and he said, “To an extent, but not really. You can practice bad habits and you won’t get any improvement, so it’s not really about quantity. It’s about learning what parts of your game are weak and working on those things and learning how to work on those things to get better at it. Many people tend to favor doing more of what they are good at and not spending enough time on improving those tougher parts that they necessarily may not like as much.”
Wainwright said that he found out really quick that he had a real gift for the sport of golf and if he could go back in time and give his former self some advice that he would have definitely stuck to golf and taken the game much more serious. “I was just kind of hanging out and playing in high school I guess but looking back I would have done it differently.” Wainwright said he has a newfound passion for golf, even before the holes in one and enjoys playing regularly and every chance he can which is almost daily.
Wainwright is currently employed by the Indian Creek Golf Club in Carrolton. Wainwright said he wanted to thank his parent for supporting him throughout this journey and that he misses them greatly only being able to see them during this past fourth of July after many months of not seeing them at all while at the same time knowing it will be several months before seeing them again.