Straight Outta Compton: Aaron Grimes

A golfer chases his dreams from a place not known to foster them 

By Laz Versalles

An African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In the case of Aaron Grimes, that village extends beyond his family to the people of the Western States Golf Association, which was founded in Los Angeles.

Grimes is an aspiring mini-tour player chasing his dream of competing on the big stage, the PGA Tour. To make ends meet and to keep the dream alive, he caddies at Los Angeles Country Club and does other odd jobs. Fire Pit Collective was honored to put together a video story for Golf Channel that shows where Grimes hails from and where he wants to go. It was important to show that Grimes is not on this journey alone. He is supported by his family and his community every step of the way. 

Another truth we hoped to communicate was that you can come from anywhere and make it in this game. Odds may be slim, but there is a way. There is a path. This is Grimes’ path. 

He started playing golf when he was 9 years old as part of the junior program run by the WSGA at Maggie Hathaway Par 3, a course named after a civil rights activist who was crazy about golf. Grimes showed promise as he progressed through the junior program. He played well enough in tournaments to consider playing in high school. There was one problem: Compton High School didn’t have a golf team. 

Grimes found his way to St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif. You may have heard of “Bosco,” as it is known, for its dominance in football, including multiple national championships. Grimes just needed a place to compete, and that’s exactly what he did. Coach Jack Hastert was thrilled when Grimes arrived on campus. “He was everything St. John Bosco is about,” Hastert says. “Respectful, competitive, supportive of teammates, hard working and, oh yeah, he was one of the best players we’ve ever had.” Grimes graduated 10 years ago, but he and Hastert maintain a close relationship to this day. 

Grimes attended Cal State Northridge, but injuries set back his career. By that time he knew what he wanted, so he made the jump to professional golf. He started caddying about the same time to make the money he needs to keep going. 

The pattern Grimes’ life has taken has a certain rhythm to it: practice, pay the entry fee, compete, caddie. Rinse and repeat for 10 years. He’s 28 now. Will he ever make it to the PGA Tour? Maybe. Has he already made it in other ways? Yes. Is he just getting started? Most definitely.

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