Log Cabin Democrat Sports: This kid doesn't just putter around 7/18/98

Published Sunday, July 19, 1998

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Sunday, July 19, 1998  Connor Poteet, 2, helped by his father (Conway Country Club pro Jon Poteet) in lining up a putt, has to use plastic golf balls because he hits real ones into neighbors yards.Mike Kemp PhotoThis kid doesn't just putter around

2-year-old son of Conway pro is golf terror

Last modified at 12:58 a.m. on Sunday, July 19, 1998


Log Cabin Correspondent

Jon Poteet's greatest triumph as a junior golfer came at Conway Country Club 14 years ago.

Poteet returned to the club as a professional and was named head pro in January of 1997.

But another Poteet looms on the horizon of the CCC putting green.

Connor Poteet is only 2, but he can already hit a golf ball into the neighbors' yard.

"We had to take the real balls away from him and give him plastic ones because he hits them too hard, too far, in the street, into the neighbors' houses," Jon Poteet said. "He prefers the hard balls, but he knows the plastic is all he's going to get, so he'll take it."

Obviously, Connor's golf talent is in the genes.

Sherwood's Jon Poteet was the Arkansas State Golf Association Junior Player of the Year in 1984. He won the ASGA Junior Stroke Championship at CCC that year, then played a year at Northeast Louisiana and another year at Arkansas-Little Rock before turning professional. He played the TC Jordan Tour and the Lone Star Tour for about five years before settling in Conway.

Jon's father, Jim Poteet of Sherwood, is another avid golfer. He started his son playing when Jon was about Connor's age. Jim Poteet never played professionally but competed in many amateur events, going against the likes of Jack Nicklaus.

But the family golf ancestry stops at Jim.

"My dad was from the old school," Jim Poteet said. "He thought a man was supposed to work. My mother was on my side as far as golf. I worked Saturday mornings, then Saturday afternoons I'd slip out and play golf."

Grandparents Jim and Lynn keep Connor during the day while Jon and wife, LeAnn, work. Connor watches the Golf Channel and hits golf balls everyday.

"Connor has never had any lessons," Jim Poteet said. "Most of what he's done he's picked up off TV."

Jon takes credit, though, for some technical adjustments he's already made in his son's game.

"As he's gotten older, I've tried to show him some of the correct things to do," Jon said. "He holds it good and swings good. He's got great mechanics."

Jon Poteet said he was hoping for a son when Connor was born Jan. 10, 1996.

"I was worried about having a girl in this day and time," he said. "I knew I'd have more in common with a boy -- hunting, fishing, playing golf."

The day after Connor's birth, a cake arrived for the family with a golf theme, complete with a plastic golf club. When he was eight months old, his parents found him some short plastic clubs.

"It's hilarious," Jon Poteet said. "We like to go to the (driving) range. I'll just sit back and watch him. When I try to hit, he takes my ball off the tee and tries to hit it."

Connor hasn't made his official golf course debut yet, but it's not for a lack of desire, his dad said. He does putt on the putting green when he visits Dad at work.

But Connor won't be pushed into the family sport any more than Jon was.

"I'm just going to do like my dad did for me -- give him the opportunity to take it as far as he wants to," Jon said.

"If he wants to play, he can. If he doesn't, that's fine. My parents never pushed me to play. They just gave me all the financial benefits to play if I wanted to."

But Dad is hoping.

"I hope he continues so we can play in the (ASGA) Father-Son tournament like Dad and I did," Jon said. "If he keeps playing, we can go out and play together and we can watch him play in tournaments like my parents did."

Jim Poteet turned Jon's game over to Tommy Hanson, then the North Hills Country Club pro, when his son was about 7.

Grandpa already sees a great deal of his son in his grandson.

"They're the spitting image of each other, exactly alike," Jim Poteet said. "They've both got the drive, both a little bit stubborn in what they want to do. They've got the will to do what they want."

But golf isn't the only game Connor already loves.

He's apparently branching out to other sports

"If you ask him what he loves, he says, 'I love to play basketball,'" Jon Poteet said, and laughed.

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