After rekindling his interest in the game of golf as an eighth grader, he eventually wound up as an All-State golfer for the Tigers and most recently became a college golfer after signing with Central Methodist University on Friday afternoon at Rolling Hills Country Club.

Versailles senior Ori Bartlett found a passion and found a future.

After rekindling his interest in the game of golf as an eighth grader, he eventually wound up as an All-State golfer for the Tigers and most recently became a college golfer after signing with Central Methodist University on Friday afternoon at Rolling Hills Country Club.

“I can say I love it quite a bit but it is pretty good knowing that I’m going to the next level,” Bartlett said.

“I worked my tail off and it feels really good to be going to the next level.”

Bartlett’s future began when his grandfather Leon Wright showed him what the game was about. The senior hopes he made it worth his grandfather’s time.

“He is no longer here, but he passed down the golf,” he explained. “It was really awesome to follow in his footsteps so doing this and going to college for it, it is making me really proud and I hope he is proud of it.”

Versailles coach Kyle Nolawski, for one, certainly thinks the senior has something to be proud about.

“It is the culmination of a lot of hard work. No one gets to that level through talent alone or being who they are,” the coach said of reaching the collegiate ranks. “It is a lot of late nights and early mornings. It is a lot of balls after practice and stuff like that. It means his work is not over, but it also means he did something pretty special.”

Bartlett represented Versailles at the Class 2 State Tournament three years in a row and when he placed 12th as a junior last season, he became the program’s first All-State golfer (reserved for the top 15) since 2006. This year, Bartlett finished two spots higher taking 10th in the state after also winning an individual conference title.

“Ori is probably one of the most decorated golfers in the history of Versailles,” Nolawski noted.

“He went to state golf three years in a row and there is not a shortcut to that. You can make it one or two years maybe as a state golfer and it be luck. But to do it three years in a row and do it the way he did it, I just hope kids that are younger than him look up to him and go, ‘That is how I want to do it. I want to put in the work because it means so much more.’”

For Bartlett, it simply came down to dedication.

“If you are going to get burnt out, there is no way you are going to get there to begin with,” the senior said of becoming a collegiate golfer.

Well, that certainly bodes well for the future as Nolawski, who once played at Central Methodist himself, said being a golfer in the NAIA program in Fayette, Mo., takes someone who is a self-starter and does not have to be told to do anything.

“You want them to just want to go out and practice and play and better themselves. I think that is one of the things that attracted him to CMU and them to him is that he does not need to be told to go practice,” the coach pointed out. “He is going to do it anyway. Unlike a lot of other schools, it is not a golf course on campus kind of situation. You have to drive a little bit and a lot of people that are not as successful are the ones who don’t show up and do the extra work.

“I don’t think that is going to be the case with him. He is going to work real hard and continue to be Ori.”

Bartlett said the school also made sense for him financially and he liked the coach and faculty there as well. The senior plans to study finance and business, potentially becoming a financial advisor one day. In the meantime, Bartlett will get ready for a new level of competition on the links.

“I’m probably going to be scared for the first couple of matches, but I think just having a lot of fun and realizing I’m at that level, I should not take it that serious,” he said. “At the same time, I still should be focusing on it.”

If his time on the links at Central Methodist is anything like his time at Versailles, fun is definitely not out of the question. Bartlett hopes his fellow Tigers continue to have fun like he did.

“I like the community here,” he said of Versailles. “I’m having new people and they are always like, ‘Hey, I want to try golf. I saw you are pretty good at it.’ So I’m getting new people to come out and it is awesome.

And those new golfers can very well find success of their own.

“Just have a love for the game and be dedicated,” Bartlett advised. “Work in the offseason. The offseason is where you get good for golf so definitely work during that part.”