Josh Fickes really only ever wanted to play golf for one school.
And so he sent Clemson a questionnaire this past fall and waited. Tigers coach Larry Penley told Fickes he would be watching, but the contact did not go further.
"I just knew I had to have a really good summer," said Fickes, who just began his senior year at Beaufort High School. "I knew I needed to win something."
His breakthrough came at the state's flagship junior event in June. He won the South Carolina Golf Association Junior Championship at Country Club of Lexington with a birdie on the final hole.
After the victory, he received a handwritten note from Penley.
"That really got me excited," Fickes said. "Because I had always pretty much wanted to go there, and then we took a visit and I kind of knew that's where I wanted to be."
Penley called to offer Fickes a scholarship the night of the Carolinas Junior Championship, when Fickes was in High Point, N.C. Fickes committed the same night.
He plans to sign in November.
Fickes said Penley liked his distance, fundamentals and positive attitude on the course. He had also talked to coaches from South Carolina, Winthrop and Duke.
Clemson received the only serious look and the offer sealed it.
Fickes started playing golf at Secession Golf Club with his father, Russ, a caddie at the club, when Josh was 10. Josh started caddying at the club during high school and also plays at Beaufort High's home course on Dataw Island and the re-opened The Golf Course at Pleasant Point, near Fickes' home.
Russ taught his son the game, and Josh picks up tips from Mike Harmon, Secession's director of golf.
"I try to just work off that until I get it right," Josh said. "...A lot of it is go out there and figure it out yourself."