The acorn, as they say, doesn’t fall far from the tree. That’s certainly true in Westchester golf clubs, where the sons of two local head professionals are tearing up the links, setting a few records, and launching—or at least thinking about—professional careers of their own on tour.
Chief among the current crop of father-son duos is Mike Miller and his dad, Bob (head pro at Knollwood Country Club for the last 27 years). Mike, 21, had an exceptional year in 2012, winning both the MGA and WGA Player of the Year crowns—for the second year in a row. In addition to numerous local wins, he traveled overseas for the first time in his life and placed fourth in the Lytham Trophy and Irish Amateur. He came home to qualify for the next stage three days later at the US Open. He also received big national recognition for leading his team to win the USGA State Team Championship.
Miller says he’s not quite ready to take his shot at the PGA Tour. “The Walker Cup is my biggest goal this year,” he says. “To possibly wear red, white, and blue and represent your country is something I’ll have forever.” He was invited to the Walker Cup practice sessions with 15 other outstanding amateurs in December. Ten players will make the team, to be chosen this summer by the USGA.
His father couldn’t be prouder. “I want him to be happy,” Bob says. “If golf happens to be at the end of the rainbow for Michael, that’s great. But there are a lot of guys out there who can play, although I think he has a lot more ability than most.” Just to put some icing on the cake, the father-son Miller duo notched a satisfying late-season win at the Whitey Voight Pro-Am Championship at Sunningdale Country Club in October.
Cameron Young, 15, picked up more than just a few pointers from his dad, David Young (head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club). Some fatherly advice—and a steady demeanor—made Cameron the youngest winner of the Westchester Amateur in 2011, put him in the winner’s circle at the Carter Cup that year, and led him to a stellar season in 2012.
David says he taught Cameron the game, but doesn’t need to coach him much now. “It adds up,” he says, “but we just work together a little bit every day. It’s a couple of minutes here, and a couple of minutes there.”
Cameron’s mother, Barbara, is a big part of the team, too. The one-time aspiring LPGA pro says she serves as his caddie, nutritionist, and taxi driver, putting 100,000 miles on the family car last summer. Her biggest job? “I try to keep him grounded in reality and focused on what’s important.”
Barbara’s steady hand and David’s fatherly guidance—combined with Cameron’s spectacular talent—came together during one remarkable week in 2012 when, in seven days, Young won the New York State Federation Athletic Association title at Bethpage Black, captured the trophy at the tough Hochster Memorial at Quaker Ridge, and then won the Brae Burn Invitational. A few weeks later he won the Mittelmark Invitational at Fenway Golf Club, finished as runner-up to Mike Miller in the Westchester Amateur, and capped his season as runner-up at the North and South Junior Championship at Pinehurst.
This year? Cameron says, “I want to play in the US Junior again, then the Met Open. I’m going to try the US Open and US Amateur again. That would be a real bonus.”