Lake Norman & Mooresville

Golfer's motivation comes from his family

Danny Pizetoski has been playing golf since just after the time he could walk. But Pizetoski is just beginning to see the big-time results of years of hard work.

Pizetoski, 17, is not only one of the best players in the Charlotte area, but also one of the better players in the state, currently ranked No. 18 in North Carolina according to

The rising senior has earned those distinctions with a banner year, earning all-state, all-region and all-conference honors, including the co-I-Meck player of the Year, while finishing fourth overall at the 4A state meet at Pinehurst No. 8.

"Golf has always been a big part of my life," said Pizetoski. "I spend at least four or five hours every day working on my game in some way, whether it's practicing or playing. I want to keep playing competitively as long I can."

Pizetoski, who started playing golf at age 2, learned the game from his father, John, and fine-tuned a lot of things with his older brother, Joey.

But the youngest Pizetoski has surpassed everyone with his commitment to the game on a daily basis. Pizetoski usually spends about 30 hours a week playing or practicing, even if he's not playing in a tournament.

"My dad actually put a golf club in my hand when I could barely walk," said Pizetoski. "My brother, Joey, was always someone I could play with growing up. I always wanted to beat Joey. So, my family has been a big part of my motivation to play golf and keep getting better."

Pizetoski appears to be getting better by the week, having five top 10 finishes in eight events this summer, including a win at the Junior Memorial at National Golf Club in Pinehurst.

A big reason for Pizetoski's improvement has been the guidance of his coach, David Ross. Ross, the director of golf at River Run Country Club in Davidson, has helped Danny changed his swing and refine his putting.

"Your golf swing is always something that can be better," said Pizetoski. "But I've finally got my swing where I want it to be, I think. But, I have to be able to swing that way under pressure."

Pizetoski plays in the AJGA Charles Howell tournament this week before heading to the N.C. Amateur Match Play next July 14 and then the Dick Tiddy Metro July 21.

"My goal this summer is to win one of the big AJGA tournaments," said Pizetoski

Pizetoski has a lot of interest from Virginia, James Madison, Richmond and Wofford, but no firm offers. However, he still has the rest of this summer and another year to prove he belongs at the next level.

"I have a lot of things I can improve on every day on the golf course, but I've also come a long way," said Pizetoski, who also holds a 3.8 grade-point average. "I think competition is what brings out the best in me. When I play against the best, I feel like I play my best."

For North Meck, Pizetoski will face the challenge of playing for a different coach, as Rick Luttrell recently stepped down, and a vastly different team, as many of his teammates will go to the new Hough High School.

But Pizetoski knows that this is just the beginning of a lot challenges and changes that will come in the next year.

"I know this is a big year for me," said Pizetoski. "I feel like I'm ready for everything. I've been practicing for this for most of my life."