Reporting Shane Kitzman
I didn’t ask Karter Smith what his middle name is.
Chances are it’s probably not “Consistent,” but it should be.
Allow me to count the ways he defines dependable.
Home-schooled until his senior year, he had a 3.98 GPA courtesy of his mother Margery, who doubled as his teacher.
Before you scoff because “What kid couldn’t get good grades from his very own mom?” know that when Smith attended Detroit Lakes High School for just his senior year, he completed the year with a 4.0 GPA.
Consistency check No. 1.
Sophomore and junior year he finished the Class AA runner-up, individually. And if it weren’t for a shortened 9-hole second round at the 2013 state tournament at Sand Creek, he could have placed second again, or maybe even first, instead of his seventh-place finish.
That’s No. 2.
The 2012 Minnesota Golf Association Junior Player of the Year was, who else, Smith. Though he didn’t win a tourney that summer, Smith always placed well meet after meet, earning him the honor.
… No. 3.
His game doesn’t revolve around gunning for birdies, but instead playing smart, and simply securing pars. He welcomes his opponents to bogey while aiming for birdies, and then end up looking up at Smith on the leader board.
He’s a team-first guy, and the senior helped Detroit Lakes come in second this year after taking the state title in 2011 and 2012.
No. 5: Smith’s as a consistent leader, too.
That even-keel attitude als onetted the 17-year-old a partial scholarship to take his swing to Division-I Drake University next year.
Here’s what you need to know about the golf prodigy who not only grew up on a golf course with a father who’s a PGA pro, but who – until this winter – always spent his cold months in Florida.
He’s 6 feet, 4 inches, but his strength isn’t off the tee
“I hit 260 (yards), but my strength is definitely my course management and short game,” he said. “I always try and see how I can play the hole in different ways.”
Father Kris didn’t force his son into the family sport
“He let me choose – I tried T-ball and tennis, but when I was around 7, I started loving golf,” he said. “He never pushed me, or forced me to hit golf balls while in the rain.”
Ironman Golf Course, the 9-hole, par-3 golf course that the Smith family runs, gave Karter an opportunity to hone his game at any time – and he took full advantage of it.
“It’s great for juniors,” he said. “The longest hole is 210, and the shortest is 125, and with postage stamp greens, you’re going to miss them a lot. I give a lot of credit to the course for developing my short game.”
He definitely missed flying south for the winter this year
“We usually went from October to the end of the Match – my dad works at a local course,” said Smith, who was actually born in West Palm Beach, and has been an avid Miami Heat fan for years.
Can Karter out-play his old man?
“I think it depends on the day,” he said. “He doesn’t practice that much anymore, but he’s still a good player. It’d be a draw.”
The best Smith golfer is actually Kate
She not only won the Class AA tournament as an eighth grader last year, but tied for the title this season, too.
And sibling rivalry is apparently a foreign concept to the Smiths.
“I root for her all the time,” he said. “I want to see her win as many titles as she can. She hits it better than any girl golfer I know.”
As for college, Drake coach Matt Lewis made Karter feel at home
“I thought it was the right size for me, and Lewis is a great guy,” Smith said, who plans to major in business. “I just fell in love with Drake. When he offered me a chance to play there, I was really happy.”