Junior Golf to Green Jacket: How Randy Smith, PGA, Shaped Scottie Scheffler’s Game
By Matt Adams
Like most people, Scottie Scheffler's journey to becoming the 2022 Masters champion has been filled with triumphs and failures. Having a strong support system is key to the level of success he has achieved. One person who has been there throughout the entire journey— His mentor and coach, PGA Professional Randy Smith.
Based at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, the 18-time PGA of America National Award winner and PGA of America Hall of Famer has developed a reputation over 40 years as the go-to instructor for young players in North Texas, including Justin Leonard, Harrison Frazar, Kris Cox, Matt Weibring, John Rollins, Martin Flores, Colt Knost, Cody Gribble, Paul Haley and Ryan Palmer.
Smith has worked with Scottie since he was around 8 years old when the Scheffler family became members at Royal Oaks. Under Randy's tutelage, Scottie thrived as a junior golfer in North Texas, winning 93 of the 136 Ewing Automotive NTPGA Junior Tour events that he played in, often playing in the older divisions.
Smith still remembers a pint-sized Scheffler watching Leonard, Haley and Cox hit shots at the Royal Oaks practice range. And things haven’t changed much since. On the Friday before the 2020 Ryder Cup Smith told a story about Scheffler and 13-year-old Jeffrey Rubenstein, one of several promising young Royal Oaks players.
“Scottie was getting ready for the Ryder Cup, and four days before that he spent two and a half hours with Jeffrey and another kid in a putting contest,” says Smith, noting that the youngsters were “thumped” by their more seasoned pal. “But they’re not afraid of Scottie,” Smith adds. “They’re not intimidated by him one bit.”
Smith’s extraordinary track record begs the question: What’s his secret? He credits good fortune, but there’s clearly more to it than that. Working with kids as young as 6 or 7 requires a special temperament. To a certain extent, Smith was born with many of the qualities he needed. Others he picked up along the way.
Regardless of where his expertise came from, his success is indisuputable and has culminated in Scottie Scheffler putting on the green jacket and etching his name (and Randy's) in the history books.
But more importantly, he has been a lasting and important presence in Scottie's life.
"Randy pretty much taught me the game, he's much more to me than just a golf coach," Scheffler said. "I'm very appreciative of the impact he has had on my life."