by Jerry Carter
Back in 1986, a little-known recording act named Timbuk 3 released a folk-rock song titled The Future is So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. Fast forward three-plus decades and that ditty could easily be the theme song for an up and coming Orcas Island resident Joe Anderson.
Joe is the middle child of James and Gina Anderson, falling between older sister Morgan and little sister Emma. Having just celebrated his birthday back in September Joe has big plans for the fast-approaching Halloween. But while most 11-year olds might be trying to choose which superhero costume to wear for trick or treat young Joe is prepping for his upcoming challenge of playing Chambers Bay Golf Course.
If Chambers Bay sounds familiar it’s because the golf course hosted the United States Open Championship back in 2015. The Pierce County layout was the first Pacific Northwest course to host the Countries biggest challenge and a 21-year-old Jordan Spieth captured the title while Joe was enjoying the summer of his sixth year.
The golf journey for Joe began as a 2-year-old would accompany James to the course and ride shotgun in the golf cart. James was playing with a set group of friends back then in Orange County, California. Surrounded by Daniel, Robbie, Steve and Quarry it was just a matter of time before Joe would make his way to wanting to start swinging a golf club of his own.
“Joseph was joining me with my friends at Costa Mesa Country Club when he was still wearing diapers,” James said. “He started hitting balls at the range when he was three years old.”
For the next five years, Joe spent as much time with a golf club in his hands as possible, despite spending a year in a wheelchair from Legg-Perthes disease when he was five years old. Every father with a son hopes for the chance to share a passion he has for golf with one of his own, and both James and Joe were enjoying the quality time. It was a matter of when — not if — that the amount of time around the game would take the younger Anderson to the edge of competitive golf.
“Joe was eight years old when I realized that he might have a chance to compete with others his age,” Anderson added. “We signed him up for first tournament and things took off from there.”
The resume that Joe put together over the next two years would be considered impressive for someone twice his age. Joe captured his first U.S. Kids event at age nine and that boast of confidence led to five tournament wins overall. Two tour championships earned the Andersons trips to the famed Pinehurst, North Carolina.
The summer of 2019 proved to be full of exciting moments for both James, Joe and the entire Anderson family. First, on July 23rd a pitching wedge found the bottom of the cup for Joe’s first Hole in One at Aliso Viejo. The Ace coupled with his first round of under-par golf at Arrowhead Golf Course took place just before the family left Southern California to return to the Pacific Northwest.
“I grew up on Orcas Island,” James added. “It was an opportunity for me and my family to return home.”
Young Joe handled the move up the coast just the way he maneuvers his way around his new local golf course here on Orcas Island. Returning to the San Juan’s also presented the fourth-grader an interesting challenge in he would now have the chance to play golf on a regular basis with Burley Hildreth.
Most young golfers inspiring to play at the next level have to turn to television or the history books to draw inspiration for improving their game but sharing the course with Hildreth, five years his senior that was no longer the case for the younger Anderson.
Hildreth just posted a new course record 65 in capturing his second consecutive Orcas Island Club Championship and the lanky smooth swinger would appear to be well on his own path to playing next-level golf.
“Joe playing golf with Burley has been great for his game,” Anderson added. “He plays his best around him because Burly raises the bar.”
The next obstacle for Joe to manage his golf game through came in the form of the pandemic back in March which would lead to a change in schools for the now fifth grader. With the public school on Orcas not attending classes in person Joe began the school year at Orcas Christian School. His abilities are not limited to striking the golf ball.
Shannon Quishenberry and Rebecca Carter are two of the teachers at Orcas Christian School who work with Joe daily and both were quick to sing his praises.
“Joe is such an amazing addition to our school family,” Quishenberry noted. “He is extremely bright and a quick learner but more importantly he is kind and thoughtful.”
Carter added “Joe approaches any challenge, whether it be on the field or in the classroom, with ferocity and determination. His kindness and wit make him a good friend and an amazing student.”
In just a little over a year of being on the Island Joe has an equal amount of love being shown around his new golf course as he does at his new school.
Terry Moran-Hodge is the elder statesman around the course that Director of Golf Justin Taylor and his family operate. Moran-Hodge has collected numerous Club Championships over the years, including this year’s Senior Club title. Most members would point to him as the Island’s top golfer not attending high school or middle school now.
“I’ve been playing with Joe for a year and a half now since he arrived and his game has matured incredibly,” Moran-Hodge noted. “What impresses me the most is his emotional maturity. There is no slamming clubs or outbursts like most of us older players deal with at times. It shows how good of a player he is going to be and how well he was raised by his parents.”
Taylor was quick to notice both the father and the son of the duo as both are fixtures around the Golf Club.
“Joe has an impressive dedication and focus for his age,” Taylor stated. “The level of enjoyment of the game lets you know that he has caught the golf bug.”
The sky is the limit for Joe both on the course and in the classroom to as the song says, let’s get this impressive young man a pair of shades.
Being this is Orcas Island, let’s make it a pair of Oakleys.