Teen with autism celebrates dream golf season

Golf helps Plantation High student come out of his shell, mom says

PLANTATION, Fla. - It's been a dream season for golfer Erik Christensen.  Not because his scores dropped so dramatically, but because he's playing on the Plantation High golf team -- a dream the teenager has been working toward for years.

Erik looks good in Plantation Colonel red, white and blue.  And he looks even better when he shows off his picture-perfect golf swing at a high school match. 

"Well, my dad was a golfer, and I want to be just like him," he says.

The 18-year-old who has autism, is usually pretty quiet, except when his clubs do the talking.

We first met Erik a year and a half ago in the Golfing Fore Autism Program, where every Friday Night, kids with Autism would practice and learn the game. 

His goal then was to make his high school team.  He practiced with the team for two years -- hitting balls, getting to know the other players, while lopping 50 strokes off his 18 hole scores. 

"He earned the spot. His game progressed.," says golf coach Matt Fritzius. "He's got one of the best swings on the team. His stroke average now for our overall team, he's our number three golfer."

"I felt good.  I'm so happy to be on the team," Erik said.

Erik does get some on-course help from family members, mostly making sure he's lined up right and keeping a correct score. 

In the gentlemen's game of golf, Erik is getting help and support from all over the course.  It's another reward for all the time and effort he's put in. 

He's just come out of his shell," says Kada Christensen, Erik's mom. "He's just a better person. I know he is."

Erik and the Plantation High team finished 3rd in their district, and on Monday they compete in high school regional.

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