If golf was once considered an "old man’s sport," it certainly shed that label in ’00’, when 9-year-old Luke Edelman first began to swing a 9 iron. Now 1′, the Franklin Lakes resident is the No. 1- ranked golfer in his age group in Bergen County, and has won six tournaments.
Like most golfers and kids his age, Luke’s favorite player is Tiger Woods. But Luke wasn’t a golf fan in ‘000, when Tiger won the U.S. Open with a 1’-under-par ‘7’, and beat the rest of the field by a stunning 15 strokes. "Golf was an old man’s sport then," said Luke, who attends Saddle River Day School.
Luke is an essential member of golf’s youngest generation. He plays every day at the Mitchell Spearman Junior Golf Camp, and has about ‘0 tournaments lined up for the next school year with the International Junior Golf Tour. His latest victory was a five-stroke win in Suffern in late July, and the one before that came in a playoff the previous week.
"In three years, when I start ninth grade, I’ll either stay at Saddle River Day School or go to Ramapo High School to play for [coach] Ozzie Carlson," said Luke. "Or, if I’m really doing well [with golf], we might move to Florida or another place with warm weather, so that I can really play all year round."
Playing virtually all year round last year didn’t hurt Luke’s grades, as the youngster made dean’s list at Saddle River. This year, he’ll have to balance golf, school, and preparation for his bar mitzvah in May.
"My parents say, ‘If you don’t do this (prepare for your bar mitzvah), you can’t play golf,’" said Luke. "So I have to do it."
And if, perchance, he were not playing golf at all, what would Luke do?
"I would probably be bored at some other camp or [be] a couch potato."
Luke first realized he had a gift for golf when he was able to out-drive, out-putt, and out-chip the four other kids in his first golfing clinic. So he enrolled for private lessons in the spring of ‘003, and soon was practicing in a golf simulator to improve his swing mechanics.
"If it was up to me, and the weather wasn’t 100 degrees every day, I’d play golf all day long," said Luke. "But with the weather the way it is, I think six hours of golf camp is it for me."