Zak Butt was just three years old when he first became interested in golf. Today, the 15-year-old Ashley Ridge freshman is a state champion.
All-Lowcountry golf team
Butt was born in Louisville but soon moved to Arizona, where he took up the game as a toddler.
June 13: Boys tennis
June 14: Girls track
June 15: Boys track
June 16: Softball
Wednesday: Girls soccer
Thursday: Boys soccer
Friday: Girls lacrosse
Saturday: Boys lacrosse
Sunday: Athletes of the year
“I lived in Scottsdale, and I would sit on my dad’s lap and watch golf,” Butt said. “I watched golf all the time. It seemed that golf was the only thing on TV. One day, I decided to go out to the (driving) range and emulate every swing I saw. I watched golf during the day, and went out to the range. I’ve had a few lessons. But I pretty much taught myself. Nobody knows my swing better than me.”
And no one was better at the High School League’s Class AAAA state championship. Butt won the individual state title to earn The Post and Courier’s golfer of the year honor. He heads up an impressive All-Lowcountry team.
Butt’s father, Pausif Butt, works for the Federal Aviation Administration and has moved around the country. From Arizona, they moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and Kansas City before arriving in the Lowcountry two years ago.
Butt immediately became the No. 1 golfer for the Swamp Foxes and competed in the state match, which is held annually at the Furman Golf Club. He finished in the top 30 as an eighth-grader but, more importantly, he became acclimated to the 6,500-yard, par-72 course.
“I didn’t know what the atmosphere would be like this year,” Butt said. “But I knew there would be a lot of big-name players there, and it would take a lot of hard work. We played 36 holes the first day, and I was 1 over after two rounds. I didn’t get off to a great start on the second day, but I dug deep and kept on working. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Butt carded a 145 after the first day of competition and trailed Jonathan Hardee of Riverside by three strokes. Butt shot a 69 in the third and final round while Hardee shot a 75.
Butt says he won’t feel any pressure next year when he attempts to defend his crown.
“I love it when the pressure is on,” he said. “People will know who I am.”
Butt’s teammate at Ashley Ridge, Austin Zoller, also earned All-Lowcountry honors.
Bishop England, which won the Class AA state championship, leads the way with three golfers — Jeremy Grabb, Patrick Ging and Jamie Wilson — on the All-Lowcountry team
SCISA Class AAA state runner-up Pinewood Prep also landed three golfers on the team: Richard Hubbard, Katelyn Dambaugh and Reona Hirai.
The rest of the All-Lowcountry team includes Robert Ferira, Porter-Gaud; Evan Rodwell, First Baptist; Christopher DeMarco, Palmetto Christian; Kyle Spencer, Wando; Sam Myers, Summerville; R.J. Keur, Fort Dorchester; and Andrew Novak, Academic Magnet.
Bishop England’s John Greavu is the coach of the year.