ST. PETERSBURG — Most people have to find their calling in life. For St. Petersburg High senior Blake Dyer, his came to him.
Dyer had been playing golf for three years and just finished his freshman year as a starter on the St. Pete varsity team. But his passion for the game had somehow disappeared.
Then, one day at the end of his freshman year, Dyer stood on the course with the club in his hand looking out upon the lush green searching for the love he once had for the game.
Dyer said he realized he needed to stop trying to conquer the game and live up to the legacy of his dad, Kevin Dyer, a former University of Florida golfer.
“Before that day, I had quit golf and stopped playing for six months. I was focused on AAU basketball and I was going to just play basketball through high school and give up golf altogether because I lost the love for it. Then something happened that day I stepped back on the green. I recaptured my love for the game. Somehow I felt it was something I wanted to do not just in high school or college, but pursue professionally,” Dyer said.
Three years after that pivotal day in Dyer’s life, he’s blossomed into a star. The Florida commit and four-year starter won the Class 3A-District 12 title last year, shooting an impressive 5-under 66. Golfweek.com ranks Dwyer 64th nationally and 12th in the state.
“My dad played at Florida and has been a 1-handicapper his whole life,’’ Dyer said. “But he never pushed me to play. He just asked me one day when I was 11, if I wanted to play, and I just grew to love the game. He’s the biggest reason I am where I am today.”
His father taught him the game the next four years as they played often together, with his dad even becoming the assistant varsity golf coach his freshman year.
“Golf is something we share a passion for,’’ Kevin said. “We spend a great deal of time playing together. It’s a gift to be able to play with my son and coach him. He got so good that after playing for only four years he beat me at age 15. He has such an unbelievable drive and is such a hard worker, I knew he’d succeed.”
The choice of where to attend college, however, wasn’t as easy for the naturally gifted Dwyer. In December, his heart was set on going to Mississippi instead of his father’s alma mater.
“In December I was in love with Ole Miss and thought I would end up there. I went to the camps at Florida and it just wasn’t my thing. Plus, I didn’t think I could actually get to play enough there because no spots were open,” Dyer said.
Six months later, the Gators hired a new coach and things changed.
“Once the new coach (J.C. Deacon) reached out to me and I took a visit there, it altered my perspective,’’ Dyer said. “I was really impressed with what I saw and I could envision myself being there. Plus, we formed a great relationship together.”
This caused Dyer to have a change of heart, stay home and commit to Florida just weeks ago. No one was happier then his biggest fan — his father.
“I feel terrific obviously, because he’s so close to home and I’m a former Gator,’’ Kevin said. “It wasn’t an easy choice for him, though. But he grew a year older, kept an open mind and feels at home in Florida. It was definitely the right decision for him.’’
Dyer has been playing in elite events around the country this offseason, and training with acclaimed professional golf instructor Matt Mitchell the past 18 months.
“I want to win a team state championship above all else this year,’’ Dyer said. “I want to graduate with strong academic standing (3.42 unweighted GPA) and go pro someday and see what I can do.”