THE SHOT OF YOUR LIFE
Georgia Southern Golfer Ben Carr Faces the
Most Significant Spring of His Collegiate Career
“Ben, that was the shot of your life right there.”
In a family video on YouTube, you can hear the proud voice of David Carr behind the camera, cheering on his then 10-year-old son, Ben Carr. Ben had just hit a shot to save par on the third hole of Green Island Country Club in Columbus, Georgia, during the 2011 Georgia Golf Association sectional qualifiers.
His brother, Sackett, only 7 years old at the time, whispers to his father, “Did you get that on camera?”
Ben Carr was the number one player in Georgia when he joined the Eagles golf team in 2018, and he helped Georgia Southern earn a place at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2010. They finished 26th in the nation.
For Carr, however, the most significant event of that year was the sudden death of his father in March 2019. Though overwhelmed with grief, he played out the season and then on Father’s Day weekend at his home course in Columbus, Georgia, Ben won the 2019 Southeastern Amateur by a convincing 10 strokes.
“It was an awesome feeling,” said Carr in an interview with “Lying Four.” “My brother caddied for me, and after I made the putt on the last hole, we just gave each other a hug. The first person I saw off the green was my mom, and we hugged. She was crying, I was crying, my little brother was crying. But they were happy tears.”
Today, Carr is 22 years old in his fifth and final year with the Eagles, capping off an astounding career. He entered this season having accumulated 10 top-5 finishes and 21 top-10 finishes, and he has helped Georgia Southern win a Sun Belt Championship and compete in the NCAA Championships twice. He also won a second Southeastern Amateur in 2021 and set a course record in another 10-stroke win.
“Looking back, I’d say it’s just gone by really fast, and I really don’t want it to end,” he said. “I’m going to have to soak up this last semester.”
Carr will be hard-pressed to “soak up” his final season, however. In August of last year, he placed second in the U.S. Amateur, golf’s premier amateur event. His placement earned him a spot in the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club in June, and a spot in golf’s most prestigious tournament, The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in April — smack dab in the middle of the Eagles’ spring season. How will he handle the pressure of the Georgia Southern season along with the biggest event of his life?
“I have to take it one day at a time and just make sure I’ll have the stamina to compete as much as I’ll be competing,” he said. “And I’d like to be mentally fresh, especially in April and in the months following.”
Carr says, however, that he has a couple of mentors in his life who are helping him prepare — Larry Mize, a professional golfer from Augusta who won The Masters in 1987; and Russell Henley, a fellow Columbus native and pro golfer with four professional wins under his belt. And, most significantly, his Georgia Southern coach, Carter Collins.
“Coach Collins is a big part of my life,” he said. “He’s been instrumental in my growth as a golfer and a person over the last four or five years.”
Carr plans to turn pro after graduating in the spring with a business degree. The Masters will certainly serve as the biggest stage from which to launch his pro career. When asked about it all, Carr says he wishes his dad could be here with him. It was his dream to see his son play in
“I think he’d be very proud and really excited to spend the week with me,” he said. “He took me to so many tournaments growing up and I mean, obviously neither of us could have ever dreamed that this would be happening. I definitely wish he was here so we could share that week together.”
Carr says he knows his dad will be watching from wherever he is.
“Ben, that was the shot of your life right there.” — Doy Cave