MISHAWAKA -

For all his success in high school and amateur golf, there is one thing Michael Makris has yet to master.

"Putt-putt is a different game," Makris says, laughing. "It's not the same at all. You can just hammer it and there are bumpers everywhere."

"I got friends who beat me when I'm like ten years old and I still hear about it. Like, 'Dude, remember when I beat you eight years ago.' I'm like, 'Yeah, it was a one-time thing.' "

On a course without windmills though, there are few that can hang with the Marian senior. While Makris says he is playing poorly this spring, that is according to his lofty standards.

"You can play the best round of your life and be like, 'You know, I left like three shots out there. Could have been three shots better,' " says Makris of every golfer's frustration. "It just seems like there is always room for improvement, and I like that. It's always motivation to work on your game."

His ideas of downtime are those putt-putt outings, or the Tiger Woods video game. But that singular devotion to golf has at the same time broadened his world.

Last summer he qualified for the U.S. Amateur, gaining confidence that he belongs on the big stage. Next year he will play for Ball State, traveling to some of the best courses in the Midwest.

"Firestone, Wolf Run, the Lost Dunes up in Michigan," says Makris, rattling off a few of the Cardinals' 2014-15 destinations. "It's kind of unbelievable when you're like, at one point of time this was a huge, blank piece of land. And someone just shaped it into this miraculous golf course."

But first he will finish his final year with the Knights, hoping to top his seventh place finish in last year's state championship.

"There's only been two guys in Marian's history to win a state championship as an individual," Makris says of 2002 champ Cole Isban and Adam Sumrall in 2009. "It'd be nice to be the third."

And that would be a win his friends on the putt-putt course could never touch.

His sister goes to Ball State. She's a sophomore this year and will be a junior when he's there next fall.