From the moment he first put a club in his hands at the age of 5, Atticus Tagami fell in love with the game of golf.
Tagami, a 10-year-old who is a rising fifth grader at Fox Meadow Elementary in Scarsdale, has translated that passion for golf into early success. He qualified and will compete in the US Kids Golf World Championship, which is a three-day tournament that takes place Aug. 4-6 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
The tournament draws players from more than 15 countries, including the United States, South Africa, India, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Italy and England. It is the largest and most prestigious event in the world for players 12-and-under.
“Atticus has loved golf since the day he could swing a club and is so excited to be competing against players from all over the world this week,” said Alexandra Vargo, Atticus’ mom. “The world championship is a dream come true for any young golfer and our family is so incredibly proud of him.”
Tagami qualified for the tournament last fall during the US Kids Golf Hudson Valley Tour. He also plays in the New England Division of the Under Armor Junior Tour and qualified for the Summer National Championship this past June in West Palm Beach, Florida. He finished 27th out of 105 players in the boys 9-11 age group and was one of the top 10-year-olds in the country at the event.
For Tagami, he relishes the thrill of the chase for the top spot that the sport of golf provides.
“I enjoy the challenge and the competition of the sport,” he said, “and the feeling of being in the hunt to finish at the top.”
Atticus was introduced to the game of golf by his father, Kevin Tagami. Kevin is a former professional golfer and coach, who used to coach the women’s team at the University of British Columbia. Atticus played his first round of golf at the Saxon Woods Course in Scarsdale.
“I introduced Atticus to golf,” Kevin said. “IN‘ma lifelong player and we watch golf together. Atticus caught the golf bug and has been at it ever since.”
During most of their free moments, Atticus and Kevin can be found honing their craft together.
“They spend many hours practicing together on the driving range,” Alexandra said. “Kevin also caddies for Atticus and is incredibly dedicated to his growth and development. They both truly love the sport and being out there together.”
Atticus handles the pressure of golf, a completely individual sport, well.
“Everyone has nerves in sports competition regardless of age and golf can be full of surprises,” Alexandra said. “Atticus works on playing one shot at a time and not focusing on past shots. IN‘m amazed at his determination to recover from tough moments.”
For a 10-year-old, Atticus displays composure well beyond his years on the golf course.
“Atticus manages his golf ball around the course very maturely for his age and always seems to hit the clutch shot in the moment,” Kevin said. “He is 2-0 in sudden death playoffs for tournament titles.”
He’s also honest about his strengths and what he can improve upon.
“My driving off the tee has been really solid,” Atticus said when asked about his game. “IN‘m working on getting better feel and weight on long lag putts.”
His goals for the upcoming US Kids Golf World Championship are right to the point. But he also has some substantial goals in mind for the future. “Have fun, enjoy the experience and play well,” Atticus said of the tournament. “And maybe one day play golf professionally.”