ARMONK, N.Y. -- A golfer from Armonk is getting a real schooling in the game.
Lee Hammerschmidt, 17, is training at the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, S.C.
IJGA is the only academy in the world to combine training, academics and competition for serious junior golfers. Each day, students receive instruction in full swing, short game, course management, fitness training, mental preparation and college placement services.
The academy has kids from 21 countries and 17 states. The IJGA golf program consists of spending half a day on golf instruction – full swing, short game, course management, mental training and college placement. For the second half, students in grades five through 12 attend school at the Heritage Academy. Evenings are reserved for fitness training and mandatory study hours.
Hammerschmidt has been playing golf since he was 12 and began playing tournaments at the age of 14.
"I first realized I had a talent for the game when I First started playing in tournaments," Hammerschmidt said. "I was playing an inter-club match at Sleepy Hollow Country Club and my playing opponent said to me after I hit a drive, 'you are going to play college golf.'”
Hammerschmidt said it didn't mean much to him at the time but that comment has stayed with him ever since. When he's in Westchester, he golfs at Whippoorwill Country Club in Armonk.
"I was fortunate enough to live right on the course so I can walk across the street and practice," Hammerschmidt said.
The golfer said the best aspect of his game is his short game, but that he needs to work on his full swing.
"In most tournaments, I still have a few shots that end up costing me strokes," Hammerschmidt said.
Despite his personal issues, Hammerschmidt cites Tiger Woods as his inspiration because of his work ethic and determination.
"He motivates me to work harder," Hammerschmidt said.
Hammerschmidt said his goal is to play for a Division 1 Program, and to win a tournament in South Carolina. But like most golfers, he has one course he would love to play.
"It would have to be Augusta National," Hammerschmidt said. "Mainly due to its history and maintenance of the course."