OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — MaKaylee comes to Lake Hefner with her dad and a set of $69 beginner golf clubs.
She learned the game from her older brothers, one of whom works at the Hefner course, and from Father Bob starting at age 2.
“The boys have really worked with her,” says Dad. “With her grip and her stance.”
Last Spring Bob saw an invitation to something the PGA was organizing.
They called it Drive, Chip, and Putt.
MaKaylee was chosen as one of 17,000 children to compete.
“I thought I wouldn’t get in,” she says, “because my dad told me there might be a lot of people trying out.”
She kept up her practice habits through good days and bad.
Bob wouldn’t let her practice driving until she locked in her softball swing.
“So she really put in a lot of hours chipping and putting,” he says.
Later, we asked MaKaylee what her favorite golf discipline was. “Driving,” she smiled in response.
The qualifying rounds continued and MaKaylee kept winning them.
Early in 2014 she got an invitation, along with 11 other kids in her age group, to drive, chip, and putt and the famous Augusta National golf course.
“It was amazing,” she says.
She drove right up Magnolia Lane, played the 18th hole, and said hi to her favorite golf pro.
“Meeting Zach Johnson,” she says, was her favorite part of the trip.
MaKaylee didn’t win her age group, but she’s too young to really care.
Among her fellow golfers at the Lake Hefner course or any other course in the state, she is the only one who can say they played the most exclusive course in the world a week before her ninth birthday.