PREBLE COUNTY — Makenna Jones, a 13 year old golfer from Preble County, is making quite a name for herself on the greens.
She will be entering eighth grade at National Trail and is fresh off her third SOPGA Futures Tour victory at Reid Park Golf Course in Springfield on Thursday, July 9. She shot an 88 on the wet and windy afternoon, but managed to secure the victory by 17 strokes.
Makenna is currently 3-0 in SOPGA tournament play and, if she takes first in her next two SOPGA events, she will have earned enough points to win player of the year.
It’s worth mentioning that there are nine SOPGA tournaments in total, and Makenna has only played in half the events.
It’s safe to say the future is looking bright.
“It’d be amazing (to win) because I haven’t done anything like it before. It’d totally be amazing just to be able to get out there and get my name out there,” she said.
Makenna’s father, Brian Jones, said she’s been golfing for about six years now and her passion started when she was told she was too young to attend a golf camp.
“Her brother went to golf camp one year and it kind of made her mad. I think that’s what fueled her flame,” he said.
Golf has become her favorite sport because she likes the accountability the game has to offer.
“It’s all individual. Whatever I do, it’s on me. If I mess up, it’s my mistake. If I do good, it’s all from my decisions and everything,” she said.
Makenna is a power hitter and says the best part of her game is her drive. Her dad was quick to make her confess the worst part of her game, too, however.
“…Putting,” she admitted.
Perhaps the putting epidemic is hereditary though, as Brian acknowledged that Makenna’s brother, Bryten (a senior golfer at Trail) is the only good putter in the family.
“It could use some work, but that’s what we have winter for. I’ll be working on it,” said Makenna.
She started working with Tim Lambert from Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon this year and will begin in Lambert’s Golf Academy GolfProdigies program next season. She’ll start travelling the country to bigger tournaments next year with the program, which will allow her to get ranked and start getting looked at by colleges.
“He’s a great guy. I’ve taken her as far as I can take her. She started working with him in February and it’s been a huge difference mentally and physically,” said Brian.
Makenna has also connected with Marissa Steen (a rookie in the LPGA tour and former golfer at Lakota West) through Shaker Run. Steen has taken the young golf star under her wing when she’s not touring and helped her with her game as well.
Needless to say, Makenna has had a golf-filled year and is reaping the benefits of her hard work. She has two more SOPGA tournaments remaining – one on Wednesday, July 15 in Urbana and another on July 30 in Loveland. She also plays in a few Eastern Indiana tournaments as well (winning those, too).
Her highlight of the summer season has been shooting a 77 at Miami Shore in Troy in the first leg of the SOPGA, she said.
Brian says as the summer winds down, she has just been heading over to Shaker Run and working with Lambert on her game while also making time to just be a kid.
“I think that’s important,” said Brian.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH