By Thomas Sellers Jr.
There is very little room for debate whether Aubree Jones is the best golfer to ever come through Tipton County.
Her making if official on National Signing Day to attend Mississippi State University was another glorious achievement on her resume’. Just in case there are still some doubters out there, a man who has seen many golf swings for nearly 50 years gave his endorsement to Jones as a G.O.A.T.
“As a female, she’s the best ever,” Swing Coach Ted Butler said. “It’s everything, she’s the total package. She has the mentality for it, she has the physical tools and she learns well. She practices hard. She’s just gifted. She’s very talented.
‘She works a little bit harder than everybody else,” he added. “She would come for a lesson to work on something that is not as good. She will work on things she’s not as sharp on. Every one of those we make better just adds to her arsenal. She’s got a lot stuff. She can do a lot of shots.”
Jones’ shots and shot-making ability has made her a champion on many levels and a Division I signee. She was joined by parents Russ and Melissa Jones, coaches Butler and Kim Greer and a host of friends and family for her signing to become a Lady Bulldog.
As a Brighton Lady Cardinal under the leadership of Greer, Jones left an impressive legacy. She finished as the runner up in the Class 3A State Golf Tournament past two years.
In her freshman and sophomore campaigns, Jones brought home the State championship. She will not only go down as the 2013 and 2014 State champion, but Jones has countless other titles, medals and honors from her days on the links.
The Lady Bulldogs, led by Head Coach Ginger Brown, will welcome Jones to Starkville after beating out other Southeastern Conference schools Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee in recruiting.
“Down in Starkville just feels like home,” Jones said. “Every time I go down there I just get this feeling of I’m so ready to be down here. It’s just a feeling I didn’t get from any of the other schools. It’s just so awesome.”
Russ said Aubree’s journey to SEC Golf started before she set foot on the Brighton campus.
“A lot of hard work, dedication and just grinding,” he said. “A lot of support from her immediate family and friends helped get her here.
“She started going to this guy right here Mr. Ted Butler when she was 7,” Russ continued. “Working with him for 10 years now on her swing. He’s done a great job with her. She goes down to Starkville for putting lessons.”
Melissa noted Aubree’s love of the game started as a way to bond with her father.
“Russ got her started and then she started going to Mr. Ted when she was 7,” she recalled. “He’s been a part of the story ever since. She goes to see him when she needs a lesson. She goes to him every couple of weeks during the summer.
Mostly for the past few years, it’s been mostly on her,” Melissa added. “She’s been very dedicated — extremely dedicated.”
An all-time high school great, Melissa noted her daughter also shines off the course with her grades and community involvement.
“She’s a very tenderhearted person,” she said. “She cares a lot about others. You can see the impact she has on people. She’s a great friends, a great daughter, she motivates the people around her. Extremely proud, I would be proud of her anyway. But it’s a great accomplishment to be known for something.”
But Butler said don’t let her smile and innocent demeanor fool you, Aubree is all business on at the tee box, in the fairway or on the green.
“She has a real killer instinct, but you wouldn’t know it,” he said. “She’s very quiet and she doesn’t brag. She has this inward drive.
“I think the sky’s the limit,” Butler continued. “She would say how cool would it be to play golf for a living. I know that’s what she wants to do is be a pro golfer on the LPGA Tour. It’s in her mind.”
On her signing day, the thoughts running through Jones’ mind were of reflection going down as the best golfer in school history.
“It’s truly humbling,” she said. “One shot at a time and not to worry about anything but the shot in front of me. My plans are to play four years at Mississippi State and hopefully to try to play professionally.
“That was definitely one of my goals going into high school was to be the best that I can be,” Jones concluded. “That’s my goal in anything. That’s what I did and if people will remember me that’s great.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.