By Taylor Grafft
Junior Blake Elliot has achieved great success this season by finishing at the top of the leaderboard in every tournament he has played. His best round and lowest score came in at Brownwood Country Club, where he shot a 71 for second place.
He has also had major success and won two tournaments this year. His first win came in Llano at the first tournament of the season. Elliot shot a 75 and beat his opponent by winning the first hole of a playoff.
Elliot also won in Leander at Crystal Falls Golf Course by shooting a 72, which was four strokes better than the second-place finisher. Despite all the growing success and high praise from his coaches and peers, Elliot remains humbled and focused on the task at hand.
“Golf has taught me there is always room to get better,” said Elliot. “I’m not perfect and there is always areas of my game that I can work on. The way I approach each hole is by making a plan. I tell myself that I’ve been in these situations and hit these shots before, now go out and do it again.”
Before Elliot came to Liberty Hill in the second grade, he grew up learning the game he loves now by playing golf with his father in College Station. Elliot said it all started when his father bought him plastic clubs and golf balls and taught him to hit and swing.
As Elliot grew older, his knowledge of the game progressed and he grew into real clubs, prompting him to play everywhere he could. That experience and his continued drive to get better at the game is what brought him to Liberty Hill where he started playing in the seventh grade on the Junior High team.
Most young athletes grow up idolizing one star player or team and buy all their gear and posters to hang in their room. For Elliot that wasn’t the case. Elliot says he doesn’t have one professional golfer he idolizes or molds his swing after, but he does enjoy watching major tournaments on television, like The Masters, and visualizing how he would approach the golfer’s next shot if he were in the situation.
Elliot may not have a favorite golfer, but perhaps the best professional that represents his game is Bubba Watson. Watson hasn’t taken a golf lesson in his entire life and has been quite successful without them. Elliot is very similar because he grew up with almost no lessons and is mostly self-taught.
“Course management is what has allowed me to be at such a high level consistently this season,” Elliot said. “I try to control the ball and limit my misses. I also try not to swing the club too hard and focus on placing the ball where I want.”
Elliot’s teammates have also helped him become a better golfer by giving him advice and encouragement.
“(Golf is) not all individual, especially at practices,” Elliot said. “As a team we all try to help each other out. I constantly ask questions and get my teammates’ advice on what I’m doing wrong, and in return I try to help my teammates out too by offering them my advice and input. Coach always tells us to focus on how we can help out the team the most. A lot of the times we can help out the most by shooting our best scores and limiting mistakes individually.”
Golf has impacted Elliot’s life in a variety of ways since he started playing. It has taught him to mask his fears and frustrations and use them to his advantage on the golf course. It has also taught him to focus all his energy and thoughts on how he can limit his mistakes and misses when swinging the club.
“Golf has taught me to stay calm and be patient,” Elliot said. “When I step up to the tee box I try to picture the ball going where I want it to. I’ll focus on what the wind’s doing, what’s the temperature because that can affect the ball flight. Also whether I want to keep the ball low or high, and/or hit a draw or cut.”
Elliot is humble and confident in his game, but knows there is always room for improvement. He says his strengths lie in his power and ability to drive the ball a long way. He’s also very confident in his short game, citing that he gets really frustrated with himself if he doesn’t hit a chip or wedge the right way or put the ball on the green. Elliot says he continues to focus on improving his putting and getting more confident in that part of his game.
Elliot said when he isn’t golfing he enjoys being outdoors and especially hunting and fishing.