Recent Blue Springs South graduate Grant Wall remembers hitting a rubber golf ball in the front and back yard of his house when he was in kindergarten.
His father, Scott, would set rocks in a circle formation by three in the back yard, and Grant would start in the front yard and drive and putt the ball until it hit one of the rocks.
“That’s when I finished the hole,” Wall said. “Sometimes I would start in the front of the house then hit it all the way around. To the back and to the other side of the back yard.”
He took about a five-year hiatus from golf to play baseball before the team broke up, and he got back into golf when he was in eighth grade.
It turned out to be a good decision.
Wall helped the Jaguars make it to the Missouri State High School Boys Golf Championships for the first time since 2012 as they finished second in sectionals with a 321 this season. He shot an 82 in sectionals and ended up playing his best round of golf in the first round of the Class 4 state tournament at Silo Ridge Golf Club in Bolivar. He shot an 1-over-par 73 then shot a 77 on the second day to finish in a tie for seventh overall with a total score of 150, earning all-state honors.
Wall also finished with a team-best 86 at the Class 4 District 7 Golf Tournament, helping his team finish second to advance to sectionals. He also tied for medalist honors in the Suburban Big Six Conference Championships with a 79.
Because of his breakout season, Wall is The 2019 Examiner Boys Golfer of the Year.
While Wall achieved some personal accolades, he was most proud of his team making it to state.
“I was super happy that we were all going down there together,” Wall said. “Our main goal was to win conference (the Suburban Big Six), which we did. And go to state, which we also did.
“I didn’t go into this season thinking I was going to be all-state. My main goal was for all of us to go to state as a team. We talked about that since our freshman year.”
The senior was locked in on the first day of state as he got a birdie on the first hole, a bogey on holes 5 and 12, and earned par on the other 15 holes. He credited his success to not putting too much pressure on himself.
“I just went out there to have fun,” he said. “That helped me not put too much pressure on myself and that helped me perform. The first day was the best round that I’ve ever shot. To have it happen on that day is pretty cool. It’s what you dream of.”
Added South coach Casey Enright: “Fifteen pars is a pretty consistent round of golf. It was pretty exciting to watch. Grant is a pretty steady golfer. He showed it on that first day with 15 pars. It’s something I know he was capable of doing.”
He finished just four strokes behind the champion, Springfield Glendale’s Dawson Meek. That’s really impressive. He showed he can hang with among the best.”
Wall admits to putting pressure on himself before, especially at sectionals.
“It was stressful for all of us,” he said. “We all really wanted to go to state. And once we finally made it, we thought, ‘OK. Now that’s over, we can have fun.’”
And he did, becoming South’s first all-state golfer since 2013, when Nick Rehmer finished in the top 15 at state. Nick’s father, Bruce Rehmer, helped Wall shore up his swing before state.
“On the second day, he actually came down and watched,” Wall said of Bruce Rehmer. “It was probably pretty cool for him to see me get all-state since his son was the last one from South to do that.
“I have had a lot of people help me over the years, but Bruce helped me a lot.”
Now that his standout high school career is over, Wall plans on going to the University of Missouri and said he will try to play for the school’s club team. He could join his former South teammate Miles Buttress.
Even though he’ll be attending college he still plans on coming back to Blue Springs when he’s free to support his brother Ryan, who will play for the Jaguars next season as a freshman.
“I will be watching him play for the next four years and I am sure I will play some rounds with Coach,” Wall said. “I still plan on being around the program.”
Added Enright: “We lost the big brother and gain a little brother. Hopefully Ryan can pick up where Grant left off.”