16-year-old Wake Forest resident tracking toward PGA stardom

EMBED </>More Videos

Sonny Bhatia likes to tell the story of when he knew his 11-year-old son Akshay was especially talented.

"He came into my bedroom when I was sleeping: 'Dad, I have a question.'"

"I said, 'Akshay, why do you have a question now? It's 2 in the morning?!?'"

Sonny Bhatia likes to tell the story of when he knew his 11-year-old son Akshay was especially talented. "God created this young man," said Sonny.

But so was the drive.

"He wanted to know, 'How do you become the best in the world?'" said Sonny.

Five years later, Bhatia is one the best juniors on the planet, but his sights are set much higher than that.

"I want to be the best player in the world. I want to dominate on the PGA Tour," said Akshay.

Those aren't boastful words. Yes, they're rooted in self-confidence, but Bhatia knows he's got a ton of work ahead to get from here to there. One of his greatest attributes is how much he loves the grind

"I love getting better. I love coming home and knowing I did amazing work today," he said.

His parents have devoted themselves to nurturing their son's talent. Nurture being the keyword. "No matter if they're a golfer, dancer or swimmer, it's our responsibility to get them where they deserve to be based on their work and their ethics and how they are," said Sonny.

Sonny will be the first to tell you he can't golf at all. There was no gifted genetic inheritance for Akshay. The elder Bhatia is now a fulltime confidante and splits the heavy travel schedule with his wife. He's definitely no stage dad.

"You have to have reasonable goals and let things come naturally. Don't push them," said Sonny.

Making the choice to skip college and chase his professional dreams wasn't easy for Akshay. "College is really hard to give up just because of the social aspect of it. Playing with a team and trying to win a national championship sounds like heaven, but I know what I want to do and I know what I want to pursue," he said.

He will spend 2019 competing in the top amateur events around the world and attempting to qualify for PGA events when he can.

Akshay will turn 17 on Jan. 30 and will become a full-time pro on his 18 birthday. In the meantime, his parents will keep up a grueling and expensive schedule of travel and encouragement. The Bhatias are confident they're on the right track- Akshay especially. "I honestly feel like my game is really, really good. Really solid. It's just building a solid plan. This is something that I'm really good at and it's only going to get better from here," he said.

For more on Akshay, check out his episode on the Youtube series "No Days Off."
Related Topics:
sportsgolfPGAsportsWake Forest
(Copyright ©2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)