Dreams are quickly turning into reality for Hartwell native Eli Scott as he prepares to swap his Coastal Georgia royal blue and gray — for University of Georgia red and black.
The Hart County graduate and former College of Coastal Georgia golf standout confirmed he is accepting a scholarship offer from UGA and will be transferring to the school, fulfilling one dream and taking a milestone step towards completing his ultimate goal of making the PGA Tour.
“UGA has always been my dream school,” Scott, who grew up a Dawg fan, told The Sun.
Since departing from Hart County in 2018, where he swung a third-place finish in the state championship tournament his senior year, Scott has been electric for the Mariners. In his time at Coastal Georgia, he was named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) First Team All-American, a Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) First Team All-American and a Sun Conference First Team All-Conference member. He also captured a first-place victory his freshman season at the Battle at Primm event in Nevada to earn him NAIA Player of the Week honors.
Now, Scott says his game has improved in several areas and he’s matured off the course as well, signaling he’s ready to play Division 1 golf. He said his short game is probably the biggest improvement he made over the past two years.
“I’ve always been a good golfer off the tee. I’ve been able to drive it well. But going down there to Coastal I knew I needed to get better with my short game,” Scott said. “That’s probably the most I’ve improved with, but overall I’m happy with how my game has matured in two years from what it was coming out of high school. Even off the golf course I think that I’ve matured a good bit and I needed to do that before I went up to Athens. I’m in a good spot for sure.”
Scott said he’s excited to mix it up and learn from some of the current players on Georgia’s Men’s Golf Team including Davis Thompson, Spencer Ralston and Trent Phillips. He said he’s also ready to work with head coach Chris Haack, who’s been at the helm of the program since 1996 and guided the Bulldogs to two national championships.
“Well coach (Chris) Haack he’s built up a pretty good program over the years. He’s got a lot of guys on the (PGA) Tour,” Scott said about what he likes about UGA’s golf program. “I hope that I can get in there and kind of make a name for myself with those guys there and hopefully I can get to the Tour one day.”
Scott credits his success at Coastal Georgia to learning from his head coach Mike Cook and working with Daniel Gray, an Elite Instructor at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center.
“Those two years down there at Coastal, I’m blessed that (Mike Cook) gave me the opportunity to play for him. It has worked wonders for my game and I’ve matured from it and it’s ultimately helped me get to UGA where I want to be.”
Being much closer to home in Athens, only an hour’s drive from Hartwell, is something Scott, and his parents, will enjoy, he said.
“I know it will be a lot easier on mom and dad,” Scott said. “Being five hours away for two years, it wasn’t easy for them.”
Recently, Scott said he’s been able to shoot practice rounds and play with some buddies at Cateechee as he prepares for several summer golf tournaments that he hopes will stay open.
Scott was a business major at Coastal Georgia, but he plans to major in sports management at Georgia.
“I’m just looking to make my family proud and I hope that friends and family get to come out and watch me play. And I hope I can represent the Scott family name well,” Scott said.