More than just Hnatiuk's nephew

PAUL TURENNE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

Every time Garrett Hnatiuk finds himself playing with a new golf partner, the same little song and dance ensues.

Thanks to PGA professional Glen Hnatiuk, a Selkirk native, Hnatiuk is a household name in Manitoban golf circles, so it's not unusual that young Garrett finds himself the subject of frequent whispering among his fellow golfers.

"You can tell that by the fourth or fifth hole it's been building up, then one of them will ask 'Hey are you related to Glen Hnatiuk?'" said 18-year-old Garrett, whose father Stan is indeed Glen's brother. "It's funny because they never ask at the beginning of the round, then they come in all timid later and ask."

The typical response: "That's cool," or "Do you ever get to golf with him?"

OFTEN VISITS

Hnatiuk does indeed get to golf with his famous uncle, as the family often visits him at his Florida home.

He also plays about 50 or 60 other rounds a summer, and competes in tournaments, like the Manitoba junior championships, where he shot a 90 yesterday.

Hnatiuk began golfing when he was about 10, and credits his uncle Glen, as well as his father and his uncle Jeff, for planting the golfing seed in him.

"The whole family golfs," he said, noting his 15-year-old sister Laura is the exception to that rule.

"I guess what I like about golf is that you're always in search of that one round. That one round where just everything's going right," he said. "I also like being out in the blazing sun. Some people don't like that but that's what I like about it."

Garth Goodbrandson, director of player development for Golf Manitoba and co-coach of the U of M's golf team, said Hnatiuk has a good swing and a love of the game, but it's his personality that stands out.

"I've known Garrett since he was probably about 12, and he's just the nicest young guy you'd ever want to meet," he said.

"There may have been some expectations when he was younger because he was a Hnatiuk but I don't think that bothers him any more," said Goodbrandson. "He's very popular with the young guys because he's such a nice guy. They know him as Garrett the nice guy, not Glen Hnatiuk's nephew."

Hnatiuk graduated from Winnipeg's Vincent Massey Collegiate a few weeks ago, and will attend University 1 at the U of M this fall, with hopes of going on to study physiotherapy.

He may try out for the Bisons golf team, but will focus mostly on his studies, he said.


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