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Providence's Grant picks up golf late, earns scholarship

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Providence graduate Colin Grant earned the Wayne Reynolds Scholarship through the Dogwood Invitational this year. He is attending Clemson University in the fall.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Providence graduate Colin Grant earned the Wayne Reynolds Scholarship through the Dogwood Invitational this year. He is attending Clemson University in the fall.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Providence graduate Colin Grant watches his shot on the driving range prior to the Reynolds Scholarship Am-Am as part of this weekendis Dogwood Invitational.

It was the summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Providence Christian when Colin Grant went out for a round of golf.

He picked the game up as an eighth-grader when his grandfather handed him down a set of Ping i3s, but he hadn't played much since baseball season rolled around. At Providence, baseball is a serious sport. But out Grant went and in he came 1-over par.

After that, golf became a serious sport for Grant. He joined the golf team, where his mom coached him during his senior season. He played on the Atlanta Junior Golf Association tour, the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour and the All-American Junior Golf Tour. He shot a 78 at the Region 5-A tournament and finished 10th in the Class A state tournament.

And Tuesday he played in the Reynolds Scholarship Am-Am as part of this weekend's Dogwood Invitational as the event's guest of honor.

Grant was selected from more than 150 applicants as this year's recipient of the Wayne Reynolds Scholarship, handed out by Druid Hills Country Club and funded by the course's annual amateur tournament.

The need-based scholarship is awarded to junior golfers already accepted as full-time college students with considerations given to GPA and extracurriculars.

"We look for young people who have a direction they know they want to go," said Edward Toledano, president of the Wayne Reynolds Scholarship Foundation and tournament director for the Dogwood Invitational. "It's very important to us that we give a scholarship to a student that is going to complete their schooling."

Enter Grant.

At Providence, Grant had a 3.7 GPA in a course load which included AP and honors classes. He played on the varsity basketball practice squad, was active in student council and the school's discipleship program and was named Most Dependable by his senior classmates. Those, in addition to his golf efforts.

"Colin's humbleness and respect was immediate to us," Toledano said. "We saw it from him from the moment he walked in. Beyond his scholastic abilities and the rest, those were some of the extra pieces, if you will."

And it didn't take long. The day of final interviews, Grant was held afterward and called in for what he thought was a second questioning. Instead he learned of his selection.

"It was a really big day, it was awesome," said Grant, who will receive $3,000 a year for his five-year PGA management program at Clemson beginning in the fall. "I was left speechless when they told me it was me that got it.

"My mother was a basket case and cried like she does at everything."

His round at Druid Hills this week was a first for Grant, who most enjoys the challenges of different courses.

At Clemson, Grant will get to see plenty more courses. The dual-major professional golf management program will qualify Grant to work as a teaching professional, run a clubhouse and earn him a major in business and marketing. Internship opportunities included this year's U.S. Open site the Olympic Club.

"I am really looking forward to the internship part of it," Grant said.

He'll have a chance to play in about a dozen tournaments a semester at Clemson. More courses to explore. And more shots to chase.

"When you are playing golf and you hit that extraordinary shot that you know you are never going to hit again," Grant said. "It's always that one shot that keeps you coming back for more."