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GOLF: This decorated Dawson County youth golfer is just getting her promising career started
Pearl Hughes holds her championship trophy after winning the 2022 West Georgia Junior Championship 11-14 age group at Sunset Hills Country Club. (Photo courtesy of the Hughes family)

The Hughes family has been synonymous with golf in the Dawson County community in recent years — with brothers Andrew and Alex graduating as impactful players who helped Dawson County High School’s team to statewide success. 

Now, the youngest of the bunch is ready to make her own mark.

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While Pearl Hughes is still in eighth grade and won’t be eligible for the varsity team this season, she is set to make a quick impact on the junior varsity level. 

Earlier this year, she earned the Georgia PGA Player of the Year Award in the 11 to 14-year-old division, winning four of the nine events she entered and finishing as runner-up in three others. 

“It feels really good and it's a huge accomplishment for me,” Hughes said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted since I was 11, so it feels really nice to have it now.”

From spending hours watching her brothers play to setting out on her own ambitious path, Hughes has already accumulated plenty of experience. She has even spent time practicing with the high school team while with her brothers.

During her 2022 season, she played a challenging course at Clemson University in adverse weather conditions.

Battling the elements, Hughes still shot a 75, proving to herself that she could grind out results.

Practicing upwards of 10 hours a week during the school year, more during the season and constantly working on her craft, she is well on her way to following in her siblings’ footsteps.

“I always wanted to be at [my brothers’] level,” Hughes said. “They were a big influence.”

Her parents have enjoyed seeing the growth and success she has accomplished in her young career. 

“It’s been a blast,” Pearl’s father Judd Hughes said. “From caddying for her when she was five to her playing by herself without a caddy now, she’s grown a lot. She’s very respectful and a pleasure to have as a child.”

As for her goals, Hughes hopes to enter the Girl’s Junior Amateur tournament and looks forward to playing alongside fellow high schoolers. 

Once she is a freshman and becomes eligible for GHSA competitions, she will be a part of a growing girls golf program at DCHS led by coach Tyler Baker.