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Posted: June 30, 2011 12:09 p.m.

Still swingin' it

Catching up with former NHS golf star Landon Cheek

In 2008, Landon Cheek was putting the finishing touches on his third straight Region 2-AAAAA golf championship. When he left for college in the fall as the school’s most accomplished golfer, he left his golf clubs behind.

Despite all the success and accolades, Cheek didn’t earn a golf scholarship nor did he really pursue any walk-on opportunities. He spent his first two years at school in Gainesville and didn’t really think about golf that much. Three years later, Cheek is getting that competitive itch again.

"Right out of high school I did not want to play college golf," he said, "but now that I have taken the time away from competitive golf I miss it."

While Cheek misses golf at Newton, the school may miss him more. The Rams golf program hasn’t been the same in the years since. Things have

changed including a socioeconomic shift, coaching and personnel changes and Cheek said the addition of a third high school certainly hasn't helped.

"During the time I was at Newton we lost half of our team to Alcovy and we never really had a rebuilding year after that," he said. "The program just started a downward spiral after that and it hasn’t recovered."

Cheek is spending this summers working at The Oaks Course and taking online classes as he works toward an accounting degree at the University of West Georgia where he transferred to. Part of the reason he hasn’t played so far can be found right there. Cheek said just keeping up with the rigors of his academic program has been challenging enough.

"I believe to play in college it takes a lot of time and mental toughness," Cheek said. "College is hard enough just taking classes full time but throw in playing a sport it could be over bearing."

Even though Cheek hasn’t played competitively at a high level in three years and is getting into the meet of his studies, he has kept his game sharp. He still has that smooth, silky swing and lately he’s been working on his game again and hopes to earn a spot on the golf team.

"I hope that playing competitive golf is not over for me," Cheek said. "Whenever I play golf it’s competitive even if I am just out on the course playing with friends. I want to win."

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