Eagle Trace Golf Club, Coral Springs, Florida. The afternoon sun is casting long shadows from the trees and bushes along the fairways. The clocktower on the clubhouse soars confidently into the sky. Alexis Thompson is preparing for a shot on the 18th hole. Tall and thin, her arms and legs are suntanned and her blonde hair is tied up in a ponytail. The 16-year-old American still moves like a girl, but it won’t be long before she’s a young woman.
She addresses the ball. The photographer accompanying her and her father, Scott, picks up his camera. It’s 210 yards to the flag.
“She has no chance of making the green,” Scott Thompson says apologetically. “I gave Lexi the wrong club.” By wrong he means the club is too short and its clubhead too flat to cover the distance. Under competitive conditions, Scott, ever the attentive caddy, would be sure to give his daughter the right club, but this is just a photo op.
She swings through the ball with power, though she makes it look effortless -- the transition from backswing to follow-through is smooth and seamless. The ball bounces off the clubhead, whistles through the air and is lost somewhere in the glare.
Scott throws another six or seven balls to his daughter. The same routine, over and over, and the balls fly off the club. You can tell why people get addicted to this action. It seems to have no start and no finish, and that luscious sound of a well-hit ball can give you goosebumps.
The photographer is pleased. The three of them head off to the green, surrounded by knolls with benches cut into them, like in an old stadium. And there they find the balls Alexis had struck. Hadn’t she been using the wrong club? The photographer is astonished. How did she do it? Scott just looks on innocently and Alexis, unfazed, grabs her putter.
Check out the August issue of Red Bulletin magazine for more of the article. To see it all, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.