Eston Lee was 11 years old when he started golfing at the Country Club of Johnston County. A man was out there giving lessons, and Lee thought he’d give it a shot.
Fast forward five years, and now he’s one of the top young golfers in the state. The Tarheel Youth Golf Association named him to the All-State boys’ first team. He’s currently ranked as the seventh best golfer in the boys division. That’s a big jump in just five years.
Lee claims he didn’t start off as a naturally talented golfer, but he did hit a hole-in-one when he was just 11 years old. It was Hole 6 at Johnston County, about 132 yards from the pin.
“It was just beginner’s luck,” Lee said with a grin.
But luck doesn’t have much to do with his success now. Lee isn’t the type of golfer to wow spectators with his ability to drive the ball deep, but he uses his irons well and prides himself on being well-rounded. He tries to regularly work on all aspects of his game. One day he may play a full course, one day he may go to the driving range, one day he might work on pitching and putting. He plays every day of the week during the warmer parts of the year. He meets with a swing coach once every two weeks to make sure he’s maintaining his fundamentals.
All of that work has already started to pay dividends. At 16 years old, he’s already accepted a scholarship to play golf at East Carolina University. Lee had interest from other schools, including UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Greensboro, but ECU just felt right.
“They have a really good program at ECU,” Lee said. “I really liked the coach and the way he runs things. It’s a bigger school too, and I just liked being there.”
Things are going well for Lee, but he’s still striving for more. Last year as a sophomore, he finished seventh in the NCHSAA 3A Boys’ State Championship. He felt like he could’ve done better, though. This year, he wants to win it all.
“I felt like I should have won last year,” Lee said. “This year I think I’m a lot better though. I’ve been working really hard, so I honestly think I can do it.”
Golf is a mentally challenging sport. You’re not only competing against fellow golfers, but the course. Lee loves that challenge though. He wants that kind of pressure. He enjoys the grind of a well-fought contest. And while he hasn’t taken much time to think about where his golf journey may take him, right now he’s happy to just be competing with some of the top young golfers in the state. He’s had the opportunity to play at some prestigious courses. A couple of his favorites include Lonnie Poole at North Carolina State University and the recently redesigned Pinehurst No. 4.