By CRAIG KLEIMEYER
For Homewood Middle School seventh grader Ben Harris, sometimes it is more fun to golf with his older sister Aubrey than with his friends. This is the first and only season Ben and HHS senior Aubrey are both representing Homewood schools in golf. Ben made the middle school boys golf team of 10 players, and Aubrey helped make school history last season by going to sub-state with the golf team.
Aubrey learns from her brother, even though he is five years younger. “I helped him when he started to play, but now he helps me,” she said. “He is dedicated to going to the lessons, and he will teach me what he has learned after each one.”
Last year at sub-state, Aubrey was two strokes away from making it to state as an individual golfer, and she is determined to make it this season. Ben will start off his season as the number five golfer on the team. Aubrey and Ben signed a contract together that says they will try to practice every day and work hard during the season to accomplish their goals.
Aubrey and Ben’s mom, Paula, explained their brother-sister bond. “They listen to one another’s instruction,” she said, “and there is a respect that they give each other when they play that you don’t always see at home.”
Ben and Aubrey practice at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Oxmoor Valley, where they also work with Neil Thompson. Neil, previously a professional golfer, started coaching Ben when he was eight years old and has coached Aubrey since she was in fifth grade.
Ben and Aubrey both said their dad Edwin got them interested in playing golf.
“My dad showed me how to play, and I liked it and kept playing,” Ben said. “I’m a little more serious about it than he is though.” Aubrey said her dad took her to practice with him, and she loved it. When Aubrey was in fifth grade, Neil Thompson suggested that she golf in a program called Girl’s Golf LPGA, which she did from the spring until the end of the summer every year.
Ben also plays football, basketball and a little baseball, and Aubrey has also played tennis, but they both like to focus on golf. Ben said he feels relaxed at the golf course, and Aubrey said she loves the scenery. “I’ve seen turkeys, rabbits and turtles,” Aubrey said. “I like being in the environment and outside.” Aubrey added that the game teaches you to be patient and to not get frustrated with yourself.
Out of all of the professional golfers, Rickie Fowler is the most inspiring to Ben. “I want to play in high school and get a scholarship, and my dream is to go pro.” Aubrey said it would be fun to golf wherever she goes to college, but right now she is still deciding where to go in the fall.