GARDENDALE — Trey Mullinax was strolling the same back yard that his family has called their own for the past 10 years. With a 60-degree Calloway wedge in hand, he laughed, looked into the summer sky and remembered.
He was uprooted from his home before the start of his sixth-grade year. His father Chip, mother Kristy and big sister Hailey packed their bags in the summer of 2004, and changed their address from Sumiton to the Dorsett Woods community in Mt. Olive.
The U-Haul only traveled 21 miles. But at 11 years of age, Mullinax had to start over — new school, new classmates, new city.
Most kids would struggle under such circumstances, but not Mullinax. The blond-haired youngster was armed with a dangerously winsome presence that ensured his social survival.
That’s why, some 10 years later as he walked his parents land, it was no surprise that Mullinax was both relaxed and likeable.
Never short of personality, Mullinax joked about all the attention he’s been receiving lately. “Why would anyone want to talk to me?” joked the Gardendale High School alumnus.
But as he turned to the small, dimpled ball beneath him and dug his white Nikes into the freshly cut lawn, something happened. Something changed.
The 22-year-old, only two days removed from clinching the University of Alabama’s second consecutive golf national championship with an unlikely 15-foot eagle putt, lightly struck the ball. It landed inches from the target.
There was nothing funny or loose about it. Unlike his crooked Southern grin, the shot was sure and straight.
Without struggle, the two-time national champion did it again and again, like it was no more difficult than sweating in June.
This is something for which Mullinax credits both his father and his now-former head coach at Alabama, Jay Seawell.