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Hard work paying off: Nall's commitment, love for game leads to more success

July 25, 2012

Hannah Grace Nall showcases the hardware she received after winning her first major championship on the Premier Junior Tour in Orlando, Fla., in the spring. (Submitted photo)

An afternoon on the driving range at the Mississippi State Golf Course may be more than a time to improve your swing.

You might get lucky enough to see 8-year old Hannah Grace Nall working on her swing.

Nall has won 21 tournaments since 2009 on the All-American Junior Golf Tour.

"It feels really good when I'm (successful) because that means I worked really hard and the work and practice have paid off," Nall said.

Nall's father and caddie Jason Nall introduced golf to his daughter at a young age and it fit her perfectly.

"The first thing I saw was she didn't run away," Jason said. "She'd actually stay out there, play, practice and concentrate. At the young age, that is probably the most important thing. It is enough fun for them that they will concentrate, learn and try and get better."

Jason worked with his daughter's swing, but a tournament in Florida made him go with a different approach.

Hannah Grace met a friend, Alexia Pano, while playing and she shot under par at 6-years-old.

"I had never seen anything like it," Jason said. "There are a lot of girls that are competitive at this age. I knew for Hannah to have the fundamentals of the game and to be able to compete at the very best, we needed someone who could teach her the fundamentals."

From that experience, Jason decided to get Hannah Grace a coach. Jason enlisted the help of Tony Luczak, the Director of Instruction at MSU.
Hannah works with Luczak once a week for an hour.

"She is the toughest competitor I have ever met," Luczak said. "She will bet. She does not like to lose and she will do it over and over until she wins."

That competitive nature has been seen on the golf course in big tournaments.

She ended the 2011 season with seven-straight wins in the girls 7-and-under division.

"I have never seen someone that is so dedicated to working regardless of the temperature," Luczak said. "Her work ethic is just incredible."

Hannah Grace does play a lot of golf, but she also watches some golf. Tiger Woods is her favorite player on the Professional Golf Association Tour. Paula Creamer his her favorite player on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

Although she has some she looks up to Woods and Creamer, her golf game is shaped around people closer to home.

"My biggest influence on my golf game would have to be my dad and my coach Tony," Hannah Grace said. "My dad because when he was young, he used to play golf and in tournaments. I want to play big tournaments like him. My coach (is an influence) because he helps me on my golf swing and tried to help me hit it in the middle of the golf face."

Hannah has traveled all over the United States, mainly staying in the Southeast playing at some of the finest golf courses in the world.

"It makes me happy because I get to see new things and different places," Hannah Grace said.

In Hannah's age group, they average 2,000 yards per nine holes. Her best nine-hole score is a one-over 37. She has shot several rounds in the 30s.
Hannah travels next week to Pinehurst, N.C., to compete in the U.S. Kids World Championship where she finished 23rd last year out of 40.

"I know if she stays committed to the technique and the process that she knows what to do, she is going to do great," Luczak said of Hannah's chances.

The tournament starts August 2 and runs through August 4. She will compete in the girls 8-and-under division with players from all over the U.S. and from 30 different countries.

"If she never picked up another golf club again, I would still be proud of Hannah, but I certainly enjoy seeing her compete, get to qualify and play in these national events," Jason said.

Hannah may be only 8-years-old, but she has a great game, a great support system and a great attitude.

"I got into the sport of golf because of my dad," Hannah said. "He is the one that taught me how to hit a golf ball and swing a club."

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