Young Walworth County golfer champion for a cause
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Logan Zurn, a third-grader, will play in two national tournaments in Florida the week before Christmas. Terry Mayer photo.
LAFAYETTE TOWNSHIP--Logan Zurn naturally was apprehensive when talking to a stranger with a clipboard. But give him a golf club and ball, and the third-grader at Tibbets Elementary School spoke volumes.
Logan, who turns 9 in December, took his first swings at 18 months old, and a video of his first mastered trick shot aired on The Golf Channel when he was age 5.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
The budding links star already possesses a long list of accomplishments, including:
• 2012 Odyssey Boys 8 Junior world champion title
• Wisconsin Junior PGA, Boys 9 and under Player of the Year
• U.S. Kids Junior World Championships (43 countries represented), he placed 12th out off 55 golfers at age 6, 14th out of 84 at age 7 and 21st out of 113 at age 8.
There’s no denying that the youngster is a competitor: “I like to win big trophies,” Logan said about one of his goals before showing off some of them in his bedroom.
However, with the help of his parents, Rick and Charlene, Logan is learning about humility and what it means not to take his tremendous athletic talents for granted and instead use them to help those less fortunate.
“This past summer, he heard about Geneva National’s (Lifelong Empowerment Open) tournament, so he started asking what it was and who benefited from it … he had a thousand questions and thought the charity part was cool,” said Rick Zurn, who played in the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system from 1991-’93, including with the team’s Beloit affiliate. “Logan decided he wanted to do something for Lakeland School, so we talked to Kevin Paluch at Geneva National, who emailed a bunch of members and got us the pledge sheets and everything, and players donated so much for pars, birdies or when they’d hit the green.”
The Geneva National Foundation hosts such events as the LEO tournament, an annual golf fundraiser that benefits Lakeland School of Walworth County, Inspiration Ministries and the Autism Support Fund.
Logan’s efforts raised nearly $2,500, which he turned into four iPads that he presented to Lakeland students in September. The children in turn showed their appreciation with an assembly in his honor. The Walworth County Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution to accept the donation and recognized Logan at this past week’s monthly meeting.
“I want to play (in the LEO) next year and do another thing for Lakeland, maybe get them some mini iPads,” Logan said.
Nobody knows how important such a contribution can be -- for the beneficiaries and the benefactor -- than Tracy Moate. She has worked at Lakeland School since 2001 and is the current administrator and director of special education.
“We have an established relationship with Geneva National and its foundation, so there was some good word of mouth,” Moate said. “Logan’s dad wanted him to understand what he can do because of his golfing success and understand where he comes from. Dad, mom and Logan made the connection and contacted me, so we put our thoughts together.
“The young man clearly loves technology and understands how popular these things are in public school. He adopted our kids and the commitment took flight.”
Moate said that Lakeland’s students took advantage of the Zurn family’s generosity right away.