Watch: 5-year-old Florida trick shot artist makes second ace — and now he’s a TV star

Cameron Middleton’s treat is playing tricks.

He’s just 5 — yes 5 — but the resident of Bonita Springs, Florida, is already an accomplished golf trick shot artist.

Oh, and he just made his second hole-in-one. That he called.

It’s been a treat so far for parents Marc and Gina Middleton, even though they have no idea where this came from. They aren’t golfers. Gina’s father, Augie Buffa, is, though, and made her watch golf on TV growing up. She thought it was boring.

Cameron hits a bag of balls from the driving range at Stoneybrook. Cameron Middleton, who is 5, recently made his second career hole-in-one out at Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero about halfway between Fort Myers and Naples. His first was at Alico Family Golf. Middleton also does trick shots and is already an accomplished golfer.

Now the Middletons have no choice. And the ride has been anything but boring.

“He is hooked,” Gina said, fittingly, Wednesday at Stoneybrook Golf Club, Cameron’s home course, in Estero.

“We’ve seen him grow a lot in the last two years,” said Bobby Conway, his instructor at Stoneybrook. “He’s got a nose for the hole — I mean, he’s got two hole-in-ones already.”

This all started when the Middletons got Cameron some plastic golf clubs when he was 3, and he started hitting balls.

“My husband and I stood there in amazement,” she said.

Middleton has been featured on the Golf Channel and a West Palm Beach television station — an anchor had come across his trick shots on Instagram and reached out to do an interview. Those pieces were because of his trick shots he came up with — starting with many simpler ones just messing around on indoor putting greens at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, or PGA Tour Superstore.

Middleton has transferred that to the actual golf course this year.

He made his first ace at Alico Family Golf’s short course from 40 yards on Jan. 6. Then on Oct. 15, Cameron and his mom were out practicing at Stoneybrook, and they got to No. 14. A year earlier, Cameron had holed out for birdie from about 50 yards. He had something better in mind.

“We’re in the cart pulling up to 14, and he goes ‘Mommy, you might want to film this, I’m going to get a hole-in-one,'” Gina said. “I just kind of shrugged him off — not that I didn’t think he could do it.”

Cameron pulled out his 7-iron and sized up the shot on the 67-yard hole.

“I got out of the cart and I got my phone. as soon as he hit that ball, you can hear him in the video, he goes ‘Yep.’ I was like, Oh. My. God. This kid,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It’s amazing.”

Gina was running behind Cameron, who is a kindergartener at Pinewoods Elementary, after watching the ball go in the hole.

“I was trying so hard not to run him over,” she said. “I’m running with my phone so I can’t see him. I’m going to crash into him, and we’re going to fall.”

The video of the hole-in-one has been shared on social media by Sports Illustrated, and was featured as “Play of the Day” on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. The video has over 1,500 views on Instagram.

An ABC producer had reached out to Gina on Instagram and asked for permission to use the video. She couldn’t say that it would definitely be on, just because if there had been some kind of breaking news overnight, so Gina didn’t tell Cameron about it.

Tuesday morning, Gina had taken a walk and was taking a shower but had “Good Morning America” on the TV.

“I heard ‘Coming up next, the Play of the Day,’ and I’m jumping out of the shower. I’m like ‘Hurry, Cameron, hurry,'” she said.

Cameron has kept the two balls he hit when he got his hole-in-ones. Cameron Middleton, who is 5, recently made his second career hole-in-one out at Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero. His first was at Alico Family Golf. Middleton also does trick shots and is already an accomplished golfer.
“He was staring at the TV. He was like ‘Mommy, that’s my hole-in-one!'”

As for his trick shots, they started out just as bank shots off barriers around indoor putting greens — people in the store would become enamored and stop to watch him bank in shot after shot — and have become more intricate, especially when the family was spending time basically in quarantine earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cameron Middleton, who is 5, recently made his second career hole-in-one out at Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero, Florida. Middleton also does trick shots and is already an accomplished golfer.

“These are original ideas,” Cameron said.

Gina started @CameronLovesGolf on Instagram, and it has over 2,500 followers, and he also has a YouTube channel. There are dozens and dozens of trick shots on there over the past several months — one is a series of him hitting a plastic golf ball into an open Instant Pot, an open microwave, an open oven, and an open refrigerator, all while his dad is going about his business and opening and closing the top or doors of them — but the balls sneak in.

“It all works in his mind,” Gina said. “‘Mommy, take the flag out and put it here, and put the bottle here, and I’m going to chip the ball, and knock it in.’ I’m like ‘Whatever you say, just tell me what to do and that’s what I go do.

“… He’s pretty good at telling me what he wants to do, or if I put it for him, he’s like ‘No that’s not angled right.’ He’s able to stand up on the hills and stand up and see ‘If I hit it, that’s not going to work.'”

You can see his favorite trick shot — that ended up on Golf Channel when he was 4 — hitting a ball through the opening of a hanging roll of duct tape that was spinning. There are ones of him hitting trick shots up and down stairs, knocking a playing card from between two plastic cups from across the room, and off doors and walls into cups or other containers. Most are followed by his yet-to-be-trademarked happy dance.

“The best part about Cameron is he loves golf,” Conway said. “Every time I see him, he wants to play more holes after every tournament. He wants to go play until it’s dark.”

Cameron’s room is a mecca to the sport, with autographed items, pictures, medals he’s won in tournaments, and even golf shoes with his image on them (those stay in a case). And there’s a turf putting area. The Middletons’ lanai is an improvised practice area that is completely covered in turf and also has a hitting net.

Like Cameron’s mind when figuring out the angles and setting up a trick shot, he just never stops. He’s got big plans for his sixth birthday in late December, too.

“I want to come here in the morning, and hit balls on No. 17 until the sun sets,” he said.

Marc now plays, practices and caddies with his son, and Gina is his unofficial manager/social media documenter.

The family went to the Chubb Classic, and PGA Tour’s Honda Classic and The Players Championship this year before the pandemic hit, meeting as many players and getting as many autographs as they could.

Last year, they went to the QBE Shootout. When tournament founder and host Greg Norman had his clinic that also featured LPGA Tour star and Shootout participant Lexi Thompson, Cameron became an unofficial part of the show. Thompson and Middleton had a putting contest — with his putter. His ball stopped inches short of going in, but the major championship winner drained her putt.

Competition is part of what draws Cameron to the game. That resolve comes from his father. And Conway, his instructor, plays into that.

“When I’m giving him a lesson, all we really do is do competitions against each other, just to get out his competitive spirit,” Conway said. “He’s learning that way. It’s not instruction, but it’s more fun, fun, keep it fun.”

Any competition between the two is supposed to end up with the loser doing push-ups, although it seems neither competitor has actually seen the loser do any — Cameron goes behind the display desk in the pro shop and giggles as he does (or doesn’t) do them. Conway, for some reason, hasn’t lived up to his end of the bargain when he’s lost.

“I haven’t seen you do one,” Cameron needled him.

While he’s become somewhat of a star in front of the camera with his talent, Cameron is slow to open up. Again, he’s 5.

When the Middletons, who moved from the state’s east coast in September 2018, brought Cameron out to Stoneybrook to have head professional Jeff Nixon and Conway take a look at him, he didn’t say much.

Conway ended up being Cameron’s instructor, and after a while, he wasn’t sure how it was going. There wasn’t a question in his mind of Cameron’s talent, but Cameron just wasn’t talkative, and he had mentioned to Gina that he wasn’t sure Cameron liked him. She assured Conway that Cameron would eventually warm up to him, and that happened not too soon after.

Cameron drives the ball on the driving range as he hits a round of balls. Cameron Middleton, who is 5, recently made his second career hole-in-one out at Stoneybrook Golf Club in Estero. His first was at Alico Family Golf. Middleton also does trick shots and is already an accomplished golfer.
Wednesday, they spent most of their time messing with one another. Conway quizzed him on his favorite baseball players, if he had heard of certain tour players (Rickie Fowler is his favorite — he mainly wears Puma golf attire, which Fowler endorses — with Bryson DeChambeau an emerging second). Meanwhile, Cameron sat still for brief periods and climbed nearly every inch of the inside of a golf cart — while repeatedly interjecting it was time to have the putting contest.

And Cameron finally got Conway to do the putting contest.

“He has such a passion for the game, and you can’t teach that,” Gina said.

That’s no trick.

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press, part of the USA Today Network. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at

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