When Will Frankum hones in on something, he has a habit of sticking with it.
Frankum, a rising senior at Gainesville High, has also been a one sport kind of guy, whether it was a past habit of playing baseball or his current fixation, playing golf.
And in just two short years of playing for the Red Elephants, he’s found out quickly that he’s pretty good, even to the level that he is devoting his summer to playing a string of tournaments and qualifiers across the southeast in search of a college golf scholarship when he graduates in 2011.
That’s not much different, in some regards, from the way he used to play baseball with games that stretch all the way through the summer.
“Will is probably one of the most driven golfers that I’ve coached, which is saying a lot because I’ve had a lot of driven golfers,” Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said. “And he’s probably the most competitive golfer I’ve coached.
“He doesn’t like not being the best.”
Starting Sunday, Frankum will get his summer off the ground as part of the field of almost 100 boys and girls at the Preseason Junior event at Chateau Elan in Braselton. Although he says it isn’t one of his biggest events of the summer, it’s still a good way to earn exemption points that could qualify him for bigger tournaments down the road.
Frankum likes getting to play at Chateau Elan where he’s played previously. The 36-hole, stroke play Preseason Junior event will be played on the Chateau course, which he expects to be playing tough with tight, fast greens. Frankum played at Chateau Elan on a Hurricane Tour event during the spring.
“Players in the Preseason Junior come from all over the country,” Frankum said. “The competition is very good.”
This summer, Frankum plans to tee it up in about 10 tournaments in an effort to get his ranking upgraded for college coaches to see. In golf, most colleges look for how players perform in summer tournaments, much more so than for the high school team, Frankum said.
His biggest events this summer include dates in the U.S. Junior Qualifier, in Asheboro, N.C., and the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Achasta in Dahlonega. In one week, Frankum is playing a Southeastern Junior Tour event in Marietta, and would like to get into the Georgia State Championship field in Columbus.
“If you want to be an elite player, this is the kind of schedule you have to play,” Worley said.
Frankum got his coaching in structuring a summer schedule to showcase his abilities with the help of Ben English, from Thomasville, whose son, Harris, plays at the University of Georgia and is ranked No. 6 in the nation by Golfweek.
“Everything is pretty structured getting into the events,” Frankum said. “He’s helped with telling me what events I need to get into.”
Frankum also says that Worley has been a valuable asset, helping get Gainesville in events against the best high school competition during the high school season; they regularly play in tournaments where the field is largely Class AAAAA schools, and the Red Elephants may be the only Class AAA school on the course.
“Coach Worley has been a huge influence and pushes me to be the best player that I can be,” Frankum said. “He gets us into a lot of good tournaments, which helps us see good competition.”
During the high school season, Frankum carded a 69 during the Rudolph Junior Classic at Chattahoochee, 71 at the Apple Mountain Invitational, and an even-par 72 during the Region 7-AAA championships at Achasta. That’s a long way from the high 80s he was shooting when he decided to throw himself into golf just a couple of years back.
“I coach a very driven group of kids, and Will is certainly one of the leaders in the forefront,” Worley said.
Frankum doesn’t take too much time away from the golf course. In the first week of summer alone, he logged about eight hours each day practicing and playing with friends at the Chattahoochee Golf Course.
“Will is the new premier golfer in Gainesville,” said recent North Hall graduate Ross Ward.