HPC’s Franklin signs with Averett
Justin Franklin has wanted to play college golf since the earliest days of his prep career.
From the challenges to perfect his game over the years to the devastation of losing his grandfather recently, he has kept playing, kept improving always with that goal in mind.
Now Franklin, a recent graduate of High Point Central, has made a tremendous step toward reaching that mark, having committed to continue his golf career at NCAA Division III school Averett University.
“I’ve thought about it since freshman year that I want to be on a college team and play,” says Franklin, the son of Theresa and Jeff. “Everyone asks, ‘Do you want to go on the tour?’ I don’t think I’m that good.
“I could probably play on the mini-tours or something, but I want to play in college and keep going with the team. It’s just fun knowing you have those other guys to fall back on, and you can all go out there and play.”
Franklin became interested in golf when he was about 2 years old. His dad gave him a set of cut-down men’s clubs and recalls him spending all day hitting balls in the yard. Franklin then began playing in a par-3 league around 6 years old.
In middle school, Franklin, who now hits it nearly 300 yards off the tee, really began to step up his game, losing only one match. At the time, he also played baseball. But into high school, he realized he needed to make a decision between the two, so he chose golf.
“It’s something I could do with my dad,” Franklin says. “It was kind of a family thing, and I knew I liked doing that more than anything. … With golf, it’s never the same day — it’s always different, something new. And you have to keep working.”
With the Bison, he quickly made an impact, earning the top spot as a freshman. Only during his junior year, in which he split time with Harrison Frye, did he relinquish it. All four years, he earned All-Piedmont Triad 4A and finished in the top 10 of the conference.
But it in spite of all of his success, he nearly sat out his senior year after losing his grandfather last summer. Franklin, who qualified for regionals all four years, eventually reconsidered, though, and returned to finish his Bison career with another strong season.
“He was someone who, after almost every tournament, I’d call and tell him how I did,” he says of his grandfather. “That was hard. … But golf is something that if you’re stressed out you can just go out there and it’s you and the course and get away from everything.”
As he considered schools, which also included Western Carolina, Franklin was drawn to Averett in Danville, Va. His grandparents live minutes down the road from the campus and just three houses down from the assistant golf coach.
Plus, the head coach’s last name is Franklin (John Franklin — no relation) as well. So, because he also liked the school and will likely be able to contribute to the golf team immediately, Franklin felt like all the pieces just seemed to fit.
“Everything was kind of: ‘Yeah, this is perfect for me,” he says.