GUYTON — Cheryl Hofmann is the Warren Buffett of mamas. She made a small investment a few years ago that has paid rich dividends for her son, 17-year-old South Effingham golfer Nick Hofmann.
On Thursday, Nick inked a national letter of intent to attend Brewton-Parker University.
“My mom actually bought a set of golf clubs that people had left in their attic,” Nick said. “She paid, I think, like twenty dollars for the full set.”
“It was actually fifteen dollars,” Mrs. Hofmann said. “Somebody had listed them in a garage sale.”
The clubs came in a skinny, old leather bag with a flat bottom.
“It had a mixture of clubs in it,” Mrs. Hofmann said. “There were three Big Berthas, some irons and a putter. There were two dozen golf balls in there that were still shrink wrapped.
“I thought, ‘Wow! This is great.’”
Nick, who liked to play outdoors, thought it was great, too. He was 11 at the time.
“I used to go outside in the back yard and just swing. I wouldn’t even hit balls,” he said.
“He was never a toys kid,” Mrs. Hofmann added. “He always had to be outside moving around — scooters, basketball and stuff.”
Eventually, Nick started searching the internet for golf tips.
“I would look at pro swings and figure out how to swing — this and that,” he said. “(Mrs. Hofmann) finally started taking me to the driving range and ever since then I have been self taught.”
Nick enjoyed considerable success on the Georgia State Golf Association Junior Tour before arriving at South Effingham.
“We went everywhere and he did good,” Mrs. Hofmann said. “He’s got tons of medals for winning a lot — lots of first-, second- and third-place finishes. It all turned out pretty good.
“This is his dream and I’m glad he got to do it.”
Nick considers his performance in the Region 2-AAAAA tournament during his sophomore season to be the turning point of his career. He tallied his best tournament score up to that point at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro.
“It was one of those years that felt really solid and one of those rounds where I felt like I got around the course really well,” he said. “It kind of boosted my momentum. It helped me then and throughout that (GSGA Junior Golf) summer season.
“It got me to this point.”
The superb region showing further solidified his decision to opt for golf over numerous other athletic interests.
“I was sold on golf at that point,” he said. “I’ve been in it one hundred percent since my freshman year. I had played baseball all my life and I started playing on travel teams. They fell through because of money and stuff like that.”
Nick is quite limber and agile for someone so large. He played offensive tackle for the Mustangs football team last fall at 285 pounds. He stands 6-foot-6.
“As you can tell, he’s got long limbs and can hit the ball a long way,” South Effingham coach Mitchell Curry said.
Curry takes no credit for Nick’s success on the links.
“He’s an excellent golfer and can beat the pants off of me, for sure,” Curry said. “We’ve enjoyed his time here and look forward to hearing good things about his success at Brewton-Parker.”