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AFRICAN-AMERICAN GOLF’S DIGEST GOLF OF THE WEEK
by Debert Cook
(June 26, 2014)–Camiko M. Smith was born and raised on the beautiful island of Bermuda where he enjoyed eating his mom’s homemade banana pancakes and codfish with potatoes. After relocating to Orlando, Fla., he embarked on a whole new side of life and he is taking full advantage of it. All through school he enjoyed playing golf and hitting balls became his favorite past-time. Today, at 28 years young, life is good for Camiko. He carries a +1.9 handicap and is extremely optimistic about his future in the sport.
Camiko is a member at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando and plays many early mornings with a group of guys at North Shore Golf Club. He enjoys serving as a mentor to youngsters and working for the betterment of his community. When time permits, he makes it a point to volunteer with Bermuda Junior Golf. Although Camiko did not attend college, he realizes the benefits of a good academic background and encourages others to achieve as much formal education as they can.
Camiko has stayed busy in the industry and he previously worked as Assistant Pro Shop Manager at Belmont Hills golf course in Bermuda at Belmont Hills Golf Club. He plays golf every day and is currently chasing his dream of making the PGA Tour.
“I never really belonged to any particular golf course,” Camiko says, “I was fortunate enough to grow up next to Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda where I spent the majority of my time. So, I guess I would claim Port Royal as my home grounds.” Port Royal is a must-play destination with stunning ocean views, breathtaking Bermuda landscapes and some of the greatest holes in golf. It’s no wonder that Camiko has fond memories of this place and, is still vividly inspired by them.
Port Royal is ranked among the world’s best public golf courses by Golf Digest and named Bermuda’s finest course by the New York Times, Camiko gained his game confidence playing the Port Royal that features 18 championship holes over 6,842 manicured yards, the longest and most picturesque course in all of Bermuda.
And outdoors is where Camiko spends most of his enjoyable time. Biking and running are among his favorite activities along with sharing time with family and especially his nephew and young cousin—if he’s not on a golf course teeing up somewhere!
When asked what he likes most about playing golf, he responds simply: “I enjoy the challenge that it brings!” Fred Griffin at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., is his instructor and regular training is helping Camiko to continue to develop into a better player.
Griffin supervises the Academy of Golf at Grand Cypress GC and draws upon his immense wealth of golfing talent. Griffin was named “Teacher of the Year” by the PGA of America’s North Florida Section, he has carefully researched and planned all Academy of Golf programs, emphasizing close contact between teacher and student. To maintain the facility’s standards of personal attention, classes are limited to eight students per group, two groups maximum. Camiko knows that it is this close, personalized training by Griffin that is an intrigal part of playing his best.
But, unfortunately, Camiko hasn’t won any tournaments—well, not yet. But he recently played in a few events, starting with the 2013 U.S. Open qualifier, where he missed the cut by only a few shots. He also played in the Rhode Island Open at Alpine Country Club in Cranston, Rhode Island: “I had gotten off to a really good start— opening with a 5 under 67— but wasn’t able to capitalize on it,” states the positive-minded, 5’10, 150 lbs. golfer. But there is a rainbow in the sky for this handsome gentleman, as Camiko most recently qualified for 2014 US Open sectionals.
“Growing up, I did not have a golf coach. I had a few tips here and there, and I am mainly self-taught. I am doing my best to emulate the swing of the best player in the world: Tiger Woods. I‘ve only recently started to get coaching on a regular basis.” Camiko admits that since starting his lessons on a consistent basis, he has gained a much better understanding of the golf swing and of how his particular swing works for him.
“Knowing that there is no way of perfecting this love for golf—I just have to go out there and play my best.”
Camiko takes pride in the fact that he has a “never give up” attitude that keeps him going, and, he has set realistic long-term goals for himself. A brilliant life strategist, he knows that pitfalls can happen when you take your eyes off the prize. So, to keep his focus pinned on the future, he breaks his long-term goals down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This has become his secret to success, and Camiko is well on his way.