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GOLF: How the Hughes brothers helped DCHS earn third place finish at state
Alex (left) and Andrew Hughes transferred to Dawson County High School in Aug. 2019 in hopes of joining the golf team. Now, the boys helped lead the team to a fourth place finish in the state tournament, tying the school’s best finish ever. - photo by Jacob Smith

Though the duo has always called Dawson County home, Andrew and Alex Hughes never stepped foot in the halls of Dawson County High School as students. 

After their father opened the Bamboo Car Wash in 2019, the Hughes brothers transferred to DCHS from Gainesville High School and had one thing on their mind: joining the golf team. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their first year didn’t go exactly as planned.  

But once the 2021 season rolled on, the Hughes brothers were set to take the Tigers golf team by storm. 

“When we came to Dawson, Coach Anglin was so excited,” Andrew said. “Our first year we kind of got screwed but this year was so much fun. It was awesome.”

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Andrew Hughes watches his drive sail onto the fairway during the area tournament on Monday, April 26. Hughes shot a 79. - photo by Jacob Smith
By the end of the 2021 season, the Hughes brothers had helped Dawson County finish third in the Georgia High School Association 3A Golf State Championships.

“It was heartwarming,” Alex Hughes said. “We didn’t necessarily get recognition at Gainesville but at Dawson, it was really rewarding to get to do it in front of people that you know.“

As far as playing on the team with his older brother, Hughes, a rising senior, said that most of the time, the brothers have a “healthy competitive relationship” on the course. 

“More than that it’s usually healthy,” he said. “It’s fun, it's really good and it’s a good motivation to have. He drives about 30 yards past me so it’s about good motivation to beat him.”

Andrew Hughes, who graduated in May, said that playing with his younger brother does not get him out of his “mental zone” while finishing his rounds, but is still silently rooting for him from afar. 

“We do want each other to play well but obviously playing in a tournament against each other, I want to beat him,” Andrew Hughes said. “But I do want to help him get to play at a super high level.”

Both brothers got into the sport when their dad first started the sport as a hobby in 2012. Now, the brothers spend most of their time practicing the sport. 

Most golf fans will tell you it’s one of the more mentally taxing sports and the Hughes brothers agree. 

“When you’re doing it well, you don’t really need to remind yourself how good you can be because you feel it,” Alex Hughes said. “But when you’re falling off, you have to remind yourself like ‘Hey, I’m good at this. I know how the balls are gonna roll.’ Just remind yourself a lot, but if you’re doing it well it just stays in your mind.”

Hughes said he especially felt the pressure to succeed at the state tournament and that he worked hard to not let that get to his head. 

Alex Hughes mentally prepares his put at the March 9 match against North Forsyth and Lumpkin Co. at Achasta Golf Club in Dahlonega. Hughes hit a 43 in the match. - photo by Jacob Smith

“There’s a lot of pressure because you’re playing for your school,” He said. “You’re almost on your own even if it’s still a team sport. It was good that we showed that we can play with some of the best teams.”

In May, Andrew Hughes will move on to play golf collegiately, yet he has not decided on a program yet. Alex Hughes has one year of high school left but thinks of golf more as a way to stay busy and not a career path. 

As Andrew Hughes continues his golf career collegiately, Alex Hughes said that watching him will actually make him more stressed than if he were the one playing. 

“I can control what I do with myself but I can’t control what he’s going to do,” Hughes said. 

As Andrew Hughes ends his high school career with the DCHS team’s highest finish, he will continue playing in competitive tournaments over the summer. He just finished playing as one of the 500 national qualifiers for the U.S. Open Qualifiers. 

Hughes did not advance, but nothing will stop this wonder golfer from continuing to pursue his dream of playing golf professionally.