It’s a long, competitive road to qualify for the PGA tour circuit, but 16-year-old Savannah native, Reed Lotter, is up to the challenge.

This past week, Lotter became one of just 13 people under 17 years old to ever play in a Korn Ferry Tour event, and only the fifth in the past 10 years.

The Korn Ferry Tour is a developmental tour for the U.S.-based PGA Tour. Getting to play in one of these events is a career milestone – a four-day event playing alongside professional golfers who travel week in and week out throughout the year, some of whom have won on the PGA Tour.

Until now, Reed had played in only one other four-day tournament in his life. He got a slot in the March 25th-28th event after he was awarded a title sponsor’s exemption from Club Car, the sponsor of the event at the Landings Club, Reed’s home course.

Before the match, Reed said “As long as I feel prepared on that first tee, like I couldn’t have done anything more, then I’ve got to live with the results.”

Reed didn’t make the cut after the first round, but that’s not going to stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional golfer.

Savannah Harbor director of golf instruction Andrew Rice, who has worked extensively with Reed, says he wasn’t surprised to see him in the Club Car field this year. Lotter almost made it in last October, when the 2020 event was held, but fell one stroke short of making a playoff.

“He’s truly a joy,” Rice said. “He gets up early and works out before he goes to school. He loves the challenge of the game. He knows how to work hard at everything he does. He’s always shown a passion for the game. He loves golf so much, he cannot go a day without doing anything to further grow his golf game.”

Last year, Lotter played in the Billy Horschel Junior Championship, an AJGA event held on Fleming Island, Florida. According to Reed’s father, Chris, Horschel himself gave a speech to each of the players about the realities of being a pro golfer, and what they need to start doing now to achieve their goals.

Horschel said young golfers have to deal with three things: golf, social life and academics, and someone can only be good at two of them.

Clearly, a choice needs to be made.

Reed’s father said, “I always ask him, is that something you want to do? It’s hard work. You wake up at 5:30 in the morning and go to the gym, then you go to the course and warm up. You eat, come back and practice again, then you go play, go to an early dinner, go to bed early. It’s a job. There are times when you don’t go to a prom or some social event that you want to do.”

But his father said he’s never had to instill any kind of discipline for Reed to develop this routine. It has always come naturally to him.

“He always loved the game,” Chris said. “It wasn’t anything for him to have to go to the course and practice for hours. I didn’t have to ask him, ‘Hey did you practice today?’ ”

As Reed knows, there will always be good days, rough courses and bad shots. But at least for now, there’s nothing limiting this 16-year-old’s drive and determination.