They can tap curving putts like big-time players, hit tee shots more than 230 feet and some have already played competitive golf for one or two years.
They are seventh and eighth-grade students who play for the Mariners Christian School boys' and girls' golf team. The school located in Costa Mesa is fielding its golf team for its first season.
Head coach Brian Jones, in his first year coaching golf at any level, has played for 22 years, never competitively. A fifth-grade teacher, he has coached basketball and football at the youth levels before.
"The program started from a vision between [Head of School] Bob Sladek and Kevin Martin, a parent and school board member," Jones said Friday at the Newport Beach Golf Course putting green. "Bob wanted to have us field a team since he started working with us. This is his second year."
Mariners Christian School already won its season opener, defeating Mission Hills Christian School of Rancho Santa Margarita in February, 141-171. No. 1 golfer Sean Willson, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, finished with a four-over-par score of 33 over nine holes. Connor Bass, 13-year-old eighth-grader Garrett Wayne and Richie Simons each shot a 36. Many of the players on the team have grown up together.