Darcy Leasure delights in telling the story of her husband, Trip, a Lt. Commander U.S. Navy, and his lifelong attachment to golf.
“Trip would come home with a new instructional DVD and say, 'This is it. I’ve got it now,’” Darcy Leasure said. “Three minutes later, he’d be asleep in front of the television.
“Jaron was 3 or 4. He would watch the entire video, engaged and aware of everything he was seeing while Trip was sleeping through it.”
Today, Jaron, 15, is applying those lessons in an impressive manner. He is a national finalist at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club, one of 80 finalists from around North America who will compete on Sunday.
Jaron’s middle name is Steel. It reflects his parents’ passion for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Darcy’s family is from Pittsburgh, and Trip, who is a Limited Duty Officer (Reactor Maintenance) on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, is from nearby Punxsutawney, Pa., which only proves there really is such a place.
“I don’t think it’s unusual,” Darcy said. “It’s a cool name. It’s strong. He’s got Steeler black-and-gold running in his veins.”
Jaron said, “I like it.”
The family is currently based in Virginia, where Jaron won the Class 5A state high school title, the first in 20 years for Kempsville High. Jaron qualified for the DCP finals in the Boys 14-15 age group at Magnolia Green Golf Club in Moseley, Va.
Trip was introduced to golf as a 2-year-old. Naturally, the introduction came from his father.
“My wife told me I wasn’t spending enough time with my son,” said Trip, with a twinkle in his eye. “So I took him with me when I went to the golf course. I wanted him to play golf because I wanted a golf partner for life.”
Trip has two golf partners for life. Son Jaxon is 11, and lately he has shown more interest in the game as a DCP competitor.
“It’s the greatest place in the U.S. for golf. I feel very special for the opportunity to be able to hit shots there in competition.” - Jaron Leasure
Jaron said he remembers watching videos of the Masters Tournament from the early 2000s. When he says that, his eyes light up. It is a tell-tale sign – his eyes glow and he sits forward in his chair when he’s talking about something that delights him.
“All of Tiger’s wins, and Tiger and Phil,” he said. “I’ve been watching those highlight DVDs since I can remember.”
Jaron doesn’t try to hide his anticipation for what he is about to encounter at Augusta National.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s the greatest place in the U.S. for golf. I feel very special for the opportunity to be able to hit shots there in competition.”
Darcy said, “He is engaged, and he is soaking it all up.”
Jaron has hit all manner of golf shots in his young career. One he hasn’t hit but would like to try someday – driving a golf ball off the deck of an aircraft carrier.
“That would be very cool,” he said.
Jaron is contemplating a wide range of career options, but there is a clear No. 1 on his list.
“I want to play professional golf,” he said.
Do you think the Navy would mind a golf professional with Navy blue in his blood hitting a ball off an aircraft carrier?