Sophomore Ruby swings into golf season


Courtesy of Riley Ruby

Sophomore Riley Ruby swings to hit a golf ball during a tournament.

Shay Bowman

Golf is about precision and accuracy. It takes practice to hit such a small ball into an only slightly larger hole. Sophomore Riley Ruby knows all about the dedication the sport requires to be successful.

Ruby has been golfing since he was 5 years old after he watched his first Masters tournament. He picked up a club and instantly fell in love with the sport.

“My favorite thing about golf is the strategy involved,” Ruby said. “I also like that you are by yourself. It allows you to be mentally strong, maybe even more so than in team sports. You are the only one playing, so you are responsible for doing your job. You can’t rely on other people to make big plays.”

Ruby played on the Grady golf team last year, but the season ended quickly due to Covid-19. Third-year head coach David Johnson hopes that this year, Ruby, along with his teammates, can grow as players.

“Riley is a leader based on his performance, and he’s starting to become a leader verbally as well,” Johnson said. “He helps give teammates guidance. This year, I certainly expect him to take on a little more of that role from a vocal leadership standpoint as well as his play.”

Ruby wants to help other players improve their game.

“I’m looking forward to being a leader on the team,” Ruby said. “I hope that I can help those who need help. I want to be a role model for the rest of my teammates.”

Ruby’s parents have been supportive of him and the sport. They have traveled around the country with him and devoted time, but his dedication makes it worth it.

“Riley has had an unwavering passion for golf since he was 4 years old,” Ruby’s mom, Lele Ruby said. “It has been fun to see him improve year after year through his hard work and commitment.”

While Ruby looks toward his future in the sport, he also remembers the achievements along the way.

“I’ve played a few events in Scotland and California, which were really cool to do,” Ruby said. “When I was 8, I won the state tournament for U.S. kids, and I was the Georgia Junior PGA Player of the Year for 2018, which was awesome.”

Golf consists of a short game and a long game. The former consists of putting and chipping, while the latter includes driving.

“Since I’ve known Riley, I first met him as a 6th grader at Inman (Middle School), his strengths have been his short game, which is the putting and the chipping,” Johnson said. “He is one of the best around at putting and chipping.”

Ruby practices four to five times a week and participates in tournaments on the weekends. He golfs with his academy when he isn’t practicing with the school.
“I’ve been going to Aussie Kids Golf Academy for a long time,” Ruby said. “I’ve been a part of a travel team with three or four other good players, and we go out to courses in the summer and spring. During the winter, we practice inside more and work on chipping and putting.”

Ruby hopes to golf competitively for as long as he can. He’s started to look into college golf programs.

“I hope to play college golf somewhere,” Ruby said. “Hopefully, I can get a scholarship if I keep working hard. That would be the goal. After that, if I have the skill, I would want to play pro golf.”

For now, Ruby is excited to get the Grady season started. Johnson says he is happy to have Ruby as a part of the team.

“Riley has a great personality for golf,” Johnson said. “He is a fiery competitor, and he wants to excel. It will serve him well from this point going forward. This is going to be a great season.”