Moose Lake brothers bond around favorite sportWhile brothers Grant and Gabe Douglas are members at the nearby Moose Lake Golf Club, the tiny nine-hole course doesn’t have a driving range. So the pair of teenagers made their own front yard version at home.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
MOOSE LAKE – While brothers Grant and Gabe Douglas are members at the nearby Moose Lake Golf Club, the tiny nine-hole course doesn’t have a driving range. So the pair of teenagers made their own front yard version at home.
“We have a huge field that we mowed down,” Gabe said of their Sturgeon Lake home. “If we can’t get to the course, we’ll just hit our bucket of range balls. Golf if pretty important to me and Grant. We could it play all day, every day.”
Perhaps that’s why the pair of Moose Lake High School siblings is among the finest to watch in the area this spring. Grant, a 16-year-old sophomore, and Gabe, a 15-year-old freshman, have both been playing on the Moose Lake-Willow River varsity since seventh grade. Both resume this boys golf season as the squad’s top scorers from a year ago, according to longtime Rebels Coach Steve Mokros.
Mokros said his pair of returning Great River All-Conference golfers have bettered their skills over time, but noted their love for the sport is most evident because they’re always on the course.
“Those two know the Moose Lake course like the back of their hand,” Mokros said. “Most days, you’ll see them out there playing, making several laps around.”
“We’ll play nine to 18 holes every day,” added Grant. “I’ll golf with my brother and our friends usually. It’s just a fun sport to play.”
Grant said his playing days began when his father, Jason, got him hooked at age 7. Gabe said he began the same year, and the two soon began playing junior golf in Moose Lake after moving north from Lafayette, Minn., five years ago.
“That was the big step for us,” Grant said. “I was in fifth grade and we had just moved. We then just jumped into junior golf right away.”
Grant explained the duo signed up as members of the Professional Golfers Association Junior Series shortly after the move. Nowadays, Grant said they play in tournaments across the state all summer long.
“We’ll play in about 15 tournaments in the summer,” said Grant, “and if we’re not in a tournament, we’re usually at Moose Lake golfing.”
Their mother, Jen, said the summertime can get busy with statewide tournaments running heavily throughout mid-June and early August.
“But that’s what they do,” she said of her eldest sons. “They play every day and golf as much as they can get. Anywhere, anyhow.”
Jen said getting Grant and Gabe involved with the PGA Junior Series was the most-efficient, yet least-expensive route when deciding on their yearlong schedule. She explained all three of her sons, including 12-year-old Gavin, take lessons from professional golf instructor Bill Israelson in Staples, Minn., to hone their abilities.
“The boys like it,” she said. “We all really enjoy it.”
Jen noted her husband’s love of golf has spread to the rest of the family. Along with Grant, Gabe and Gavin, 8-year-old Clara golfs as well. Jen said they have a family membership in Moose Lake and that even she recently began playing.
“I thought if I didn’t learn, I’d be left behind,” Jen said with a laugh.
Both Grant and Gabe sport a less-than-10 handicap, while just over par in Moose Lake. Grant said he prefers his putting skills best, while Gabe likes his short game and irons better. More days than not, the brothers are close in score.
“My putting isn’t the best,” Gabe admitted, “but our scores are pretty average between us. One day one of us will win and the next day it will change.”
Mokros said the two right-handers are quite the treat to watch in action.
“To reach the next level, they’ll have to improve their course management, short game and mental toughness,” he said, “but at some point, I really believe they can be right up there with the better players in this section. I really do.”
Section results aside, Gabe said playing the lifelong sport is always a pleasure.
“Some days, I’ll be out there in the morning when the greens keepers are just getting done and I’ll come back in the afternoon, too,” he said. “I take it as seriously as school work. Grant will give me a ride and we’ll just go and play.
“Last Friday we were both out there chipping and putting until 8:30 or 9 at night,” Gabe continued. “After practices, we’ll usually play another round, too.”
Or they go home and smack balls into the darkness.