Hudson Justus has an agreement with his parents that takes the pressure off of playing golf against the rest of the top kids in the world.
If for any reason that the 10-year-old loses his passion for the sport or finds something else he’d rather do instead, the rising fifth-grader at Mount Vernon Elementary is free to put the clubs down.
However, astounding results for one of the Top-5 ranked junior players in the US Kids World circuit has the polite and focused young star from Gainesville eager to continue honing his already-prolific abilities.
Justus has twice won the US Kids World Championship.
And, his favorite, was a victory at the 2021 Future Masters – also one of the elite junior events – in Dothan, Alabama.
“I really like playing golf, the competitiveness and all the friends I’ve made from playing,” said Justus, who is on the course at the Chattahoochee Golf Club almost every day.
However, his parents are realists, knowing that childhood pursuits can easily fall by the wayside.
Just as soon as Justus found a love for golf, he could develop the same dedication for any number of other athletic opportunities.
Either way Hudson’s parents, Dawn and Scott, make it clear they’ll support his passion as much as humanly possible.
“I’m a realist and I know likes and loves change as you get older,” said Hudson’s father, who spent many of his earlier years as an educator as a high school coach in Hall County. “(Hudson) truly wants to be on the golf course. He has more fun than anyone, whether he wins or finishes dead last.”
In the case of this young golfer, the statement ‘dead last’ is clearly tongue in cheek.
Justus has a mechanically-sound backswing and equally-strong followthrough that are both polished far beyond his years.
Since picking up the clubs for the first time at age 3, after watching ‘The Short Game’ on Netflix, Justus hasn’t looked back.
So far, he’s won more than 50 junior tournaments.
And his score is more often under par than above even, playing from closer tees than adults, to factor in for his age.
“He’s unique in that he found a niche for what he wants to do at age 3,” his father added. “And now he’s 10 and I thought that might change by that time, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
With so much early success, Justus has been able to rub shoulders with the pros, some of the biggest names in the game.
Once, Hudson received a message of encouragement from two-time PGA Champion Justin Thomas, during one of the younger golfers big events.
Justus has received a trophy from six-time major champion Nick Faldo after winning the event with his name on it in South Carolina.
Justus has also exchanged pleasantries with Jordan Spieth and been within arms reach of Tiger Woods at another event.
Already, Justus has similar ambitions to the players who are household names who also all got their start playing golf at a young age.
“I want to play on the PGA Tour,” said Justus, who most recently won the 10 and 11-year-old Georgia qualifier July 3 in Athens for the Notah Begay Junior National Championships.
As long as the ride lasts, Hudson’s family, including younger sister Layton (who is 8½) are all happily on board to see how far the golf journey goes.
Tournaments away from home double as family vacations, so both of Dawn and Scott’s children can enjoy the experiences.
“Our family loves what golf has done for us, the new friends and families we’ve been able to meet,” Hudson’s mother said.
Justus still plays basketball during its season, a deal with his parents to take part in at least one team sport.
And Scott wants his son to get experiences with the outdoors sports, fishing and hunting, which the young golfer will be able to learn from his maternal grandfather in South Georgia.
However, education will always come first.
These lessons were instilled in Scott Justus by his father, which led to his career path in administration with the White County Schools.
However, there’s no mistaking that, in his free time, golf comes first for Hudson.
And, as long as the will to play lasts, he’ll be given every possible opportunity to display his talents.
“I think every parent should want their child to be the best at whatever they want to do,” Hudson’s father said.