Augusta Prep eighth-grader Salil Ghamande is tearing up golf courses as part of the Augusta Prep team and out on junior tours.
The 14-year-old is a major reason the Cavaliers jumped out to an 9-2-1 start for its 2012 golf season. He’s second on the team in scoring average (72.8), just four-tenths of a point behind freshman Joey Lawrence.
“He has a good work ethic,” said Augusta Prep community golf coach John Carney. “He’s a student of the game.”
Though golf is mostly an individual affair, being on a team is a different experience for him.
“It means I have to perform my best to help my team out,” said Ghamande. “It also means even when I don’t play well, I don’t have to get down on myself because I know that I have other team members behind me.”
Playing poorly is a relative term for Ghamande, whose tour schedule looks like a bowl of alphabet soup. He plays the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour (SJGT), the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) and for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).
On the 2011-2012 IJGT tour, Ghamande is tied for fifth, winning two major championships in the only tournaments he’s entered. Those ahead of him have played in five events.
On the SJGT, Ghamande has entered 23 events since 2010. He’s placed out of the top 10 just three times, winning once and finishing second four times.
He started golfing when he was 8. He would watch his dad practice and then his dad encouraged him to start.
“The smartest thing I ever did was not teach him anything,” said his father, Sharad.
The success he’s had hasn’t come without effort.
“It’s a lot of work, because right after school I go straight to golf and practice there until it’s almost dark,” Ghamande said. “I just come home and I do my homework and I get it done. I’ll be tired, but it will be worth it when I play tournaments and I play well.”
If that wasn’t enough, he also goes to golf coach Greg Melvin four days each week at The River Club in North Augusta. Ghamande enjoys playing football, soccer and basketball, but not at the expense of his golf game.
“He decided baseball was affecting his golf swing, so he cut baseball and that was his decision.” Sharad said.
Ghamande already has plans for the future. “I’d love to go and play golf at college somewhere, at a good school,” he said.