Eli Hodges takes golf game to next level
Eli Hodges has dreamed of playing college golf since he was little – barely old enough to hold a club. Now, the RHS Golden Tiger’s dream will be realized, with his signing to play at the University of North Alabama.
“It’s just a dream come true to play college ball,” said Hodges, adding that he’s excited to have selected UNA – with a great coach, environment and friends, it’s a place that already feels like home.
“Eli is a wonderful young man. He works really hard in his golf game and is obviously very talented,” said RHS Coach Ryan Brewer. “I expect big things out of him.”
Hodges’ current coach isn’t the only one with expectations. UNA Coach Jason Vaughn said he’s excited to bring Hodges on board.
“I’ve gotten to see Eli play golf ever since he was 10 years old. He has just continued to improve and get better and better at his craft,” Vaughn said. “We were really fortunate at UNA that he wanted to come (here). I know he had other places he could have gone.”
Vaughn said signing Hodges was a no-brainer, both in terms of his skill level and because of a desire to build UNA’s program with golfers who are local to the area.
“I wanted to find a player in this area that could help our golf team. Eli was top of my list,” Vaughn said. “I feel Eli can come in as a freshman and play on our team and travel and fit in with the type of player I’m looking for. He continually strives to get better and better every day … That’s what I’m looking for in a golfer.”
Vaughn added, “I think he will make an impact on our team right off the bat.”
Hodges parents said they were overjoyed to see their son reach his goal and be able to continue his golf career.
“I’m just so proud of him because he has worked his entire life for this,” mother Kelley Hodges said. “His dad has been teaching him to play golf since he was four.”
“We’re really proud for him to get what he wants,” dad Victor Hodges added. “Couldn’t be more proud, really.”
As for Hodges, he knows it’s where he has been that’s gotten him to where he is today.
“I love Russellville, and I feel like it prepared me to go to UNA,” Hodges said. “I’m excited.”