Chattanooga, Tenn.–Lake Johnson, a Chattanooga native, is the epitome of a simple man. There are no gimmicks or trickery to his game, yet he continues to win at the collegiate level.
“I haven’t taken very many lessons,” Johnson said. “So [my style] is kind of natural. I keep it really simple which most people don’t do nowadays. I would say that’s the one thing that’s different about me.”
Although his path to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was quite straight-forward, Johnson’s start with the sport came from an odd situation.
“I started playing golf when I was in the eighth grade,” Johnson said. “I broke the growth plate in my shoulder, and I was unable to play baseball anymore. So I started playing golf instead.”
While playing for Chattanooga Christian School, Johnson placed fifth in the state during his junior and senior years in a very competitive tournament. He also competed at an AJGA tournament the summer of his junior year, and won in a unique way.
“It was the biggest thing I’ve done,” Johnson said. “I had to birdie the last three holes to win it.”
As Johnson was winning tournaments and placing in TSSAA events, colleges started to take notice of the Scenic City product.
“I started getting noticed at the beginning of my junior year,” Johnson said. “I had a pretty good summer, coaches are allowed to talk to you at that point. So I started to get recruited.”
Johnson ultimately found that his collegiate home and original home would be intertwined, as he chose UTC to continue his career on the links.
“It means a lot that I was able to stay in Chattanooga,” Johnson said. “I really like it here, and it’s nice to stay close to home and represent Chattanooga. I don’t really get to see my family because we travel around, but I still get to see them more often when we’re at home and not playing in tournaments.”
Even though Johnson may still be in the town he grew up in, there are still changes he has to make going from high school to the college level.
“The courses are definitely harder,” Johnson said. “The level of play is a lot better, challenging.”
For Johnson, his career in counting strokes may extend beyond the collegiate level, but for now, he is focused at UTC.