Sea Pines golf instructor helps student qualify for Augusta National

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - One Hilton Head golf instructor is at the top of his game of helping others improve their game. The WTOC Hometown Hero will soon watch one young student compete in one of the most prestigious junior competitions in golf.

With every shot Luke Parsons hits, Tim Cooke's imagination gets a little closer to Augusta National.

"Every element of the game he has worked so beautifully in," Cooke said.

Cooke will be paying closer attention than usual to this year's Masters, beginning the week before the green jacket is awarded. That's when the director of instruction at the Sea Pines Learning Center will have one of his star pupils competing in the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship at Augusta.

"I've heard it's a great course and many pros play there, and many people go there, but I'm going there to compete," Luke said.

Luke got to the most visible junior golf competition in the world with some help from Cooke. They have worked together for about a year-and-a-half, and the nine-year-old is now a two-time national champion with so many tournament wins that his hometown - Salley, SC - has named a street for him.

"You expect them to make it, but you're okay if they don't because the numbers are against them who get through all the way to Augusta. I'm so happy when anyone achieves a goal of theirs, so for Luke to achieve what he did and to achieve some recognition and keep trying to improve is so fun to watch," Cooke said.

Because of Luke's high golf IQ, the pair can work at a higher level than most junior lessons.

"We do a lot of skill-based learning with technical instruction at the same time, so he does a wonderful job taking my instruction," Cooke said.

This WTOC Hometown Hero will share the excitement of Luke's invitation to Augusta - as well as some of the credit for it.

"I would say at least 80 or 90 percent. He is like the best coach in the world. He's packed with information," Luke said.

"If you prepare to the best of your ability, whatever that is, and I know for a fact Luke will, I have no doubt in my mind that will be the case, he can have some confidence that he can perform at his best, and whatever that is, he'll do great," Cooke said.

Luke will compete in the 7-9-year-old division in the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championships at Augusta on April 1.

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