Featured Articles

Stories about real people and real issues in our communities.

Local Sports Hero - Ryan Burnett

11 November 2016 Written by  By Michelle Lassle
Published in November 2016 Articles

“Golf is a very objective sport. You can either entirely blame yourself or celebrate what you did and the work you put in, instead of relying on a team.”

 Ryan Burnett chose to devote all of his time and energy to golf, instead of continuing a successful multi-sport career. Up until the age of 12 Ryan was juggling five sports: football, basketball, baseball, swim, and golf. He even swam at a high competitive level, placing fourth at the county meet in backstroke. However, the individual atmosphere of golf and the direct correlation between your results and how hard you work trumped the benefits of all the other activities. “I was doing everything I could,” Ryan said. “I loved all of it. I just happened to have a knack for golf and excelled at that the most out of all of the sports I was playing, so that’s what I moved towards.”

Ryan was originally introduced to golf before he was two years old, thanks to a plastic toy set gifted to him by his parents. From there he began accompanying his dad at the driving range as soon as he was old enough. Finally at the age of 11 Ryan decided it was time to get serious and join the competitive world of golf. “My family belongs to Round Hill Country Club in Alamo, so I started working with a swing coach there,” Ryan said. “I still work with him now. He taught me how to be competitive and play at a higher caliber, and I began participating in tournaments.” 

By the time high school rolled around, Ryan had dropped all athletic commitments other than golf, was giving the sport his undivided attention, and was ready to try out for the Campolindo team. The team is typically split up into six varsity players and 10 JV players that rotate through matches. “I tried out as a freshman and made the team,” Ryan said. “Whether you end up on JV or varsity depends on your scores. During my freshman year I’d say I was probably the number one player on the team, but it was a very competitive year.” The team’s practice schedule consists of practice Monday through Thursday with two after school matches per week. Ryan also puts in extra work on his own at the country club on Fridays and during the weekend. When he isn’t playing for the school, Ryan competes in individual tournaments about twice a month.

His high school career has proven to be fruitful so far, bringing Ryan all the way to the state competition. “Last year our team took first place in league, placed second in NCS, and moved on to NorCals for the first time in Campolindo history,” Ryan said. From there Ryan individually won the NorCal championships and qualified for the state tournament held in southern California. “As a team we missed qualifying by three shots, but I was able to move on as a solo player. I shot a 77 and placed around 19th, when I know my personal best is 64. It wasn’t horrible, but I was hoping for better. Overall, though, it was a really cool experience.” Ryan has also earned the title of DFAL Player of the Year and MVP as a sophomore, and he was 1st Team All-League as a freshman. He qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and is ranked 19th in the country for his age.

Despite the amount of time Ryan gives to his sport, he also puts in effort in the classroom, typically maintaining around a 3.7 GPA. “I’m taking AP Environmental Science and AP Psychology this year,” Ryan said. “I like to challenge myself so I don’t get lazy because then other things tend to slip. I’m a very hard worker in school. I don’t have as much time as other kids, but I use it to the best of my ability.” One of the other classes Ryan chose in his junior year is Sports Medicine, which requires him to put in 25 hours per quarter of internship/field work. This allows him experience with such tasks as taping a player’s wrist during a football game. “I figured I could learn things that would be beneficial and help me to better take care of myself during golf.” Only being a junior has not stopped Ryan from making college decisions, including which university he will be attending. “I am verbally committed to the University of North Carolina,” Ryan said. After visiting about 10 schools around the U.S., a lot of them the top golf schools in the country, Ryan decided that North Carolina was the best by far. “I knew I wanted to study business, and they have one of the best undergraduate business programs in the country, in addition to an amazing golf team. So I was very excited when that became an option for me.” Ryan’s ultimate dream and goal at this moment is to play at a professional level, but he knows that his education is first and foremost. “I hope to pursue professional golf, but I know that North Carolina will bring good opportunities my way regardless.”  

Read 2948 times Last modified on Friday, 11 November 2016 15:08
Rate this item
(2 votes)

Subscribe to our virtual magazine