Anna Earl received the 2023 Larry Martin Sportsman of the Year Award from the West Virginia Golf Association (WVGA), as voted on by her peers and Tour administrators. This award is named after Larry Martin, known as “The Old Pro”, who founded the West Virginia Golf Association’s (WVGA) Junior Tour 40 years ago. Award eligibility is open to a boy or girl 18 and under who is a member of the 2023 CJRT, demonstrates good sportsmanship on and off the golf course, embodies what it means to be a “good sport” and shows class at every golf course and demonstrates what it means to be a member of the Junior Tour.
Earl is an unlikely young golfer. According to her father, Micheal Earl, “Anna was born with cerebral palsy but has not and does not want that to define her. She is so much more than that and it bothers her to even bring it up.”
She took up golf at the age of 8 and played a few holes at Mini Bel Golf Course every Saturday evening. They learned about the Drive, Chip, and Putt event by accident and she wanted to participate. Her father told her they didn’t know how it would turn out and she said, “It’s okay, Dad. I am used to finishing last.” She didn’t. She won the local event, advanced to regional competition in Michigan and was hooked on the game. Earl said, “I found something where I could compete with my peers.” She then began playing in US Kids events.
In seventh grade the pain from the Cerebral Palsy became so great that golf was no longer possible. The search for surgical interventions led to Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus. “The hospital was great and worked us in so that my surgery would be in May in time for fall golf,” Earl recalled. “I rode into the hospital in a wheelchair and, after a month of recovery and in-patient therapy, I walked out!”
She started the next season in sixth place and finished “All County” by the end of that season. “I’ve told people that without golf I don’t know if the surgical recovery would have been as successful as it was,” she said. “The lessons I’ve learned from junior golf aren’t even measurable. Some of my best friends are other kids on the golf courses around the state.”
A recent graduate of Parkersburg High School, Earl plays most of her golf on the Tour and at Parkersburg Country Club. She is now a freshman at Ohio University.
WVGA Tournament Manager – Youth Operations Lucas Ware said, “Anna Earl is the definition of a sportsman, and it was only fitting for her to win the award at Parkersburg Country Club, her home club and workplace, and, thanks to the late Larry Martin, the birthplace of the Junior Tour.
“The WVGA would like to thank all players who participated in the 40th Callaway Junior Tour season and thank all the parents and spectators for their support,” Ware said. “We would like to thank our partners, Callaway Golf and Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal, for their continued and invaluable support of junior golf here in West Virginia.”
For more information, please visit wvga.org.