Golf is Coven Cummings’ game. His passion for it started young, his father Jeremy Cummings said.
“Literally right after he turned one, he got a little plastic golf set — one of the ones you get from the dollar store — and that sucker was all over our house,” Jeremy said. “He just gravitated right to it. I never had to show him, ‘Hey, this is golf.’ He’s just always been all in with it.”
When he was two, Coven, now 8, started practicing golf with his dad.
“He took me to the golf course once with his friend and I just whacked the ball around,” Coven said. “(That’s when) I started golfing.”
Although Jeremy offered pointers to his son, Coven of Grantsville learned just as much or more from watching his hero, Tiger Woods.
“He’d always sit and watch Tiger Woods on TV and just imitate what Tiger Woods was doing,” said Kacee Cummings, Coven’s mother. “He wouldn’t let his dad tell him what to do.”
One day, Coven hopes to be like Woods.
“My favorite player is Tiger Woods because … he’s really good,” Coven said. “He’s one of the best players in the whole entire world.”
Coven started golfing competitively when he was five years old. He won his very first tournament.
Since then, he’s amassed an impressive record in tournaments sponsored by the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation and the Utah Junior Golf Association.
His ability to consistently meet par or birdie led him to win the U.S. Kids Player of the Year in the Utah league for three years in a row. In the only other year he competed for that title, he placed second.
In April, Coven was a member of the team that won the UJGA Junior Challenge Cup.
“He was on the south team for Utah,” Cummings said. “It’s basically like an all-star tournament, but instead of playing by yourself, you have a partner and you alternate shots with them. He got to do that and the south team won, so his name is on this big cup. … It’ll be up there until next year (when they hold the tournament again).”
Coven is also on track to become the UJGA Player of the Year this weekend.
“Next Saturday, he’ll play in the Saratoga Springs championship tournament, the final tournament of the year for UJGA,” Jeremy said.
UJGA awards the Player of the Year based on each player’s performance at tournaments throughout the year.
“When you win first place you get a certain set of points, when you win second you get a certain set of points, when you win third you get a certain set of points, and at the end of the year they add up all those points and whoever’s winning gets the Player of the Year,” Jeremy said. “Basically, if he (Coven) wins this next Saturday, he’s the Player of the Year. … If he doesn’t, he takes second. Either way, it’s such a big accomplishment.”
Jeremy added, “What’s cool is Coven is … leading for the Player of the Year in the 10 and under (category) and he’s only eight. At that age, one year is a big deal.”
As exciting as it is to win the UJGA Junior Challenge Cup and Player of the Year in two organizations, Coven’s performance last month at the IMG Academy Junior World Championships in San Diego, Calif., may be even more significant.
“He placed 13th out of 90 kids from 43 countries, and he was in third place for the Americans,” Cummings said. “That was the big one. That kind of put him on the map, … where now when he goes to tournaments, people know who he is.”
Coven also placed second in the Utah State Amateur Championship in the 10 and under category in June.
“The thing that was really cool was watching him make it all the way to the end,” Jeremy said. “You should see the picture of him and the kid that won it — the kid is like a foot and a half taller than him. … They had to play 18 holes (which is twice as long as Coven is used to) and he beat the two seed kid and the three seed kid.”
Coven loves the challenge of competing in golf.
“Yeah (I like tournaments),” he said. “My favorite part is putting. I like putting a lot. It means … you have the club there on the green and you try and hit the ball and make it in the hole. It’s the last thing you do. I like it because it’s harder.”
Jeremy treasures the time he spends playing golf with his son.
“We go pretty regularly,” he said. “It’s pretty rare he (Coven) doesn’t have a golf club in his hand. When he’s with his mom, he doesn’t play as much, and I think that’s good and healthy for him (to take some breaks). We can’t do it every day, but I would say at least four nights a week he’s there for a couple hours each night. Yeah (we always go together). It’s super fun.”
In fact, Coven loves golf so much, sometimes his dad has to coax him off the course.
“We’ll finish hitting 18 holes and he’ll want to hit a bucket of balls,” Jeremy said. “He just loves it. He’s already got the University of Utah and BYU both following him on his Instagram.”
Coven’s skill with a golf club often means he gets pitted against older kids. To date, he’s been invited to tournaments in a variety of locations, from California to Costa Rica and Europe.
As he grows physically, Jeremy anticipates Coven’s golfing skills will grow along with it.
“He’s a good little athlete and I think he’s only going to get better,” Jeremy said. “It’s been pretty fun to watch what he’s doing. He’s going to be good. He’s going to be really good.”
Coven’s fans can follow his adventures on his Instagram account, @birdieboycove.