DEER — When it comes to sports at Deer High School, the Antlers and Lady Antlers have had a proud tradition of basketball.

Now, the school can boast of an athlete receiving a scholarship for another sport — golf.

Dalton McGinnis signed a national letter-of-intent to play golf at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

"I chose this school because it is a very good school with a very good golf program," said McGinnis. "They will help me make it to the next level and play professional golf."

In Deer, the closest golf course is in Harrison which is 40 miles from the high school. But McGinnis didn't play that course much.

"We go up to Fayetteville every weekend," he said. "We play Paradise Valley."

Golf has been a big part of McGinnis' life. He has learned many life lessons on the course.

“I like golf because it is a such a fun sport," he said. "It is something that I will never be perfect at which means that I will constantly be working. I love when I hit that one amazing shot and that's what keeps me coming back."

When attending Southeastern Oklahoma, McGinnis will start his freshman year as an undecided major.

"I'm not completely sure, but I have narrowed it down to two — business education or landscape architecture," he said.

But when he grows up, he wants to be one thing — "a professional golfer."

McGinnis' shelf is full of awards. He was medalist four times at the district tournament. He was a two-time Class 1A medalist. He is one of the few golfers to play in the overall golf match that features the top three golfers in each classification.

Three times McGinnis was the Junior PGA overall state champion.

Academically McGinnis is on the A honor roll.

Deer has been a special place for the junior golfer.

"I will miss all my friends, my teachers and my golf coach (Henry Wooten),” said McGinnis. "I will miss all of the good times that I made at all of the golf matches we played."

Golf has taken McGinnis on a lot of trips to play. He points to one central Aransas course as the toughest he has faced.

"The hardest golf course I have played in competition is Pleasant Valley in Little Rock," he said. "The reason it was so hard is because the greens are crazy fast. The fairways are tree-line and there is a lot of water and out of bounds."

As McGinnis heads to Southeastern Oklahoma to represent his school, there are areas of his game that he needs to improve.

"I need to expand the variety of shots I can pull off from around the greens," he said. "I need to learn how to shape the ball both ways."

McGinnis, who is the son of Bradley McGinnis and Kristie McGinnis, is the younger brother of Clint and Delaney McGinnis.

As McGinnis represents the Newton County school on the course, He hopes to continue to bring pride to the Antler golf program.

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