From day one, Vincent Van Liere has loved the game of golf. Now, at eight years old, he is taking the lead, tournament after tournament, across the country.
It all started when Vincent’s dad Tim took him out to hit range balls one sunny January day. Tim, an accomplished golfer himself, hadn’t been to the course for ages and decided that was the day to take his son out to try the sport he enjoyed so many years ago.
“He had just turned three,” reminisces Tim, “and I showed him about 10 shots, gave him a little driver, and teed up his first ball.” What was to come next was the beginning of a very early career.
Vincent took his first swing and the ball was airborne; second ball – airborne, and again with a third ball. “It was unreal,” says Tim.
Now, five years later, Vincent has played in multiple tournaments, both locally and regionally. In April 2017, he entered the US Kid’s Tour in Denver, Colo. – a series of six different tournaments – and won each and every time. This accomplishment has landed him the opportunity to compete at a world level in Pinehurst, NC.
The US Kid’s Golf World Championships is played at Pinehurst Resort – a competition between 1,600 athletes 12 and under represented by 50 different countries. Vincent will be playing against the best eight year olds in the world, and his mom and dad couldn’t be more proud.
“The look on his face was priceless when he knew he won the tour championship in Denver,” says Tim with a smile. “He had made a big accomplishment!”
Aaron Roeber, the Golf Professional at Rapid City Elks Golf Course, has been giving golf lessons for the past 20 years and has been impressed with Vincent’s talent since day one. “His ability to understand what’s happening, what shots to hit, how to hit them, club selection – things even adults struggle with – he seems to do really well at an early age.”
So what’s his secret? Staying focused on the game through breathing and taking his time to think through every shot is key, but Vincent accredits his success to his attitude towards every swing.
“Sometimes I don’t get a good shot,” explains Vincent, “and I just have to say ‘Oh well’ and do better next time.”
With positivity, focused training, and drive to place high in the World Championships, Vincent is heading for success in the world of golf.
By Jenna Carda