FALL RIVER — She's got a tee time at Pebble Beach. She just missed getting one for Augusta National. At this rate, Reese Hunsinger will be strolling the fairways at St. Andrew's before you know it.
Thanks to her superb golf game and a recent connection with corporate America, Hunsinger, all of 9 years old, has been selected by Foresight Sports, maker of the GC launch monitors/simulators, to play three dream rounds of golf in at three exquisite California Monterrey Peninsula golf courses, including the world famous Pebble Peach. The event runs Nov. 9-13, Veterans Day weekend.
She'll be one of only four youths (two girls, two boys) participating in the Legends Invitational, title-sponsored by Foresight Sports. It's a Navy SEAL fundraising event geared toward corporate CEOs. The cost is $45,000 per foursome, with each foursome expanded to a fivesome with the addition of a “legend”, mostly retired NFL players, said Mike Hunsinger, Reese's dad and coach.
Reese, on a recent Thursday on the Fall River Country Club practice range, said she's hoping for a pairing with Tom Brady. Mike wondered if Joe Montana might be part of the event. Mike said he doesn't specifically know who the celebrity participants are.
Foresight is providing Reese and Mike with the flight and lodging. Mom Erica Hunsinger is joining the party. Mike is hoping he's allowed to caddy for Reese, an accomplished youth golfer on the regional and national levels.
A member of Foresight's UpNext junior player development program since last spring, the 4-foot-5, 60-pound Reese is also scheduled to play the famous Spanish Bay and Spyglass courses.
“I am super excited,” said Reese, a fourth grader at Somerset's North Elementary School. “And I'm grateful for Foresight for giving me this awesome opportunity, for helping me to go to Pebble Beach.”
Giving the above nod to Foresight was no accident, nor afterthought. The relationship with the UpNext program has become an important part of the Hunsingers' golf life. “It's kind of like a sponsorship/ambassadorship,” Mike said.
Given the opportunity to purchase the GC3 launch monitor/simulator at half cost (priced $8,999 on the Foresight website), the Hunsinger's signed for three years to have Reese do two promotional social media posts per month. Mike has been the Steven Spielberg, creating the short videos for Instagram, which is where he learned about UpNext.
He applied last spring and Foresight obviously liked Reese's resume, which included two US Kids Golf Boston Local Player of the Year honors the last two years.
“Play in a lot of tournaments. You have a good social media presence. That's what they want,” Mike said. “They're looking to help young juniors and promote their products. It's the way of the future.”
The easily portable (12' high, 5' deep, 6' wide) GC3 analyzes each golf swing and instantly provides data on swing speed, carry distance, total distance, spin rate. “All of these tools are really valuable to help me help her,” Mike said.
The best professionals in the world, Mike said, use a GC, specifically the four-camera GC4. You'll see the gray boxes all over the practice range at next week's Ryder Cup, he said. The GCs are also a ton of fun, allowing hookups to video screens to simulate playing on famous courses while actually hitting golf balls into a net in the back yard.
The US Kids Golf Boston Local Player of the Year in the 8-and-under division a year ago, Hunsinger this past spring claimed that honor in the age 9-10 division. Two weeks into this fall season, she had played two events, with a win and a second and a career-best round of even-par 36.
At the US Kids World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., she took 31st place, a jump up of 10 spots over last year. Over Labor Day weekend, Reese finished third out of 19 in her age group at the Sea View Open in Atlantic City, an event for top players from the East Coast.
Those in the golf apparel world also know about Reese Hunsinger. Mike said his daughter has become an ambassador for the Bad Birdie clothing company. “They send her some shirts, some hats, and she has to do a couple of posts. Anyone buying stuff using her discount code, she gets a kickback on commission,” he said. “With all these NIL things, you can do that now. I was leery set up Instagram account; it's all me. But it's the future. It is what it is.”
After advancing through local and sub-regional qualifying, Hunsinger finished fifth in the Drive, Chip and Putt regional at TPC Boston but just five points out of first place. The winner advanced to the nationals at Augusta. The Drive, Chip and Putt is a joint creation of the USGA, Augusta National and PGA of America and is open to boys and girls ages 7-15.
This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Reese Hunsinger set to play golf at iconic California golf course