“I’ve always been passionate about golf, ever since I was little, it started around the age of seven,” Garnett said. “I loved it in high school. It wasn’t my main sport but I always liked it a lot better than running. It’s just a lot of fun being out there with the kids, teaching them how to play and learning a little bit too. We’ve got some quality players.”
Garnett graduated from Christian County in 1994 and went on to run track and cross country at the University of Kentucky before working in the Christian County school system for four years on a drug and alcohol awareness grant. Garnett went back to college to get his masters in special education in 2002 and has been at Trigg since.
“As far as golf goes, I played as the number two guy for Christian County,” Garnett said. “I was actually a better runner there. I ran cross-country and track and ended up going to the University of Kentucky on scholarship where I ran the half-mile and the mile in track for three years and cross country for two years.”
Garnett’s college-athletics experience has come in handy while coaching scholarship caliber athletes such as Wildcat ace Tyler Mitchell.
“I tell these guys all the time, you have all the time in the world after school because when you get to college you’ve got to manage your time well,” Garnett said. “I was one of the top runners in the state in high school and when I got to UK I was just one of the guys. It’s hard being the top guy in high school to settling for mediocrity in college. I hope these guys go on to dominate their college sports, but it wasn’t the case for me.”
Garnett was also raised by a golf coach, giving the 30-year old some previous knowledge of the job at hand.
“My stepfather was a golf coach so I’m familiar with how it goes,” Garnett said. “I love getting out there with the guys and hitting golf balls with them and having fun. Just being outside on the golf course for a few hours after school is nice. I cannot stress enough how nice these kids are top to bottom the Trigg Co. kids have been wonderful.
Not being very far removed from competition himself, Garnett finds pure enjoyment from watching his young players.
“I remember how exciting it was for me as a young golfer to go out there and compete,” Garnett said. “So it’s exciting when I see them go out there and doing the same things I was going through and that’s been neat.”
Garnett has also found his job is made much easier when golfers like Mitchell are leading the team.
“We’re struggling at the bottom of our lineup a little bit,” Garnett said. “But those guys are young and haven’t been playing much, but they’re coming up. At the top of our lineup we’ve got some real quality players like Tyler Mitchell who is highly thought of. He’s played in some national events where he’s finished in the top 10, so he’s very talented, we expect a lot of good things from him.”
After a delayed start to practicing before the season, Garnett hasn’t been surprised with the outcome thus far.
“It’s been about exactly what I’ve expected,” Garnett said. “We got a fairly late start to the season. I didn’t get hired until early August, whereas other teams were starting in July. The other kids have really started learning a lot just from watching Tyler practice. Another quality golfer is Taylor Lowery. He’s been struggling here lately but he’s got a great golf swing. I fully expect him to be right up there with Tyler before the year’s over.”
During his short tenure at Trigg County, Garnett has been impressed with the hospitality and sportsmanship he’s seen from his team and their families.
“One of our kids, Preston Metts, he’s a fairly new golfer and we threw him into a big tournament in the first week. He was really struggling but he kept with it and the other coaches kept commenting to me how well he was behaving and handling it. It’s very impressive and I’m very proud of these guys. The parents have been great too, helping us transport kids to as far as Louisville.”
Garnett is also a fan of his boss and fellow golfer, Athletic Director Taylor Sparks.
“Taylor Sparks is the perfect athletic director here at Trigg County,” Garnett said. “He’s really into the sports in Trigg Co. and he lives and dies black and white. He’s given us all of the support we need. He always asks what the kids shoot and when he hears what Tyler shoots and when he hears it, he’s always saying, ‘Good Lord,’ it just blows his mind. Tyler went out yesterday and birdied the first three holes he played and he’s making a mockery of the courses right now.”
Competition hasn’t been a problem for Garnett and his Cats, who are fully confident in their abilities.
“As far as competition in the Western Kentucky area, we can compete with anybody,” Garnett said.
To read the conclusion of this story, pick up the latest edition of The Cadiz Record.