Sunday August 25th
Rookie / Beginner Program
Week 6 of the Term 3 Rookie program saw conditions similar to the prior week, with a gentler breeze and the air with a bit more of a chill to it.
This week the children got to do some work on their chipping technique before going back to their favourite area, the range for some full swing work. There were the regulars Dan, Michael and Ted, while Henry came back for more punishment (this time equipped with a bandage on his finger and a spare band aid to stop the golfer’s blisters). Sienna also recovered from her cold and due to Luke (Michael’s brother) having his birthday party at lunch, Daniel and himself made a return to the Program where they started.
Each child got to work on their short chip shots, which even though it is not an entertaining as smashing a driver as far as they can down the range, is equally as important to building a good foundation for the full swing and ultimately on course success. After about 20 minutes and a couple of rounds of buckets, it was time for the first Team Game. The group was split into 2 teams. Team L consisting Henry, Luke and Michael and Team R comprising Dan, Daniel, Sienna and Ted.
The first game was chipping to a pin about 20 metres away and on the left side of the green. The two newest faces shined and Henry just nosed out Sienna to get closest to the pin and only 4 feet away. The second game was to the same pin to give them a chance to get used to the power needed to get the ball close. The results from all players improved but once again it was Henry just from Sienna and this time less than 3 feet away. This Game Team L a 2- 0 advantage.
The third game was to a pin a further 5 metres away and positioned on the right side of the green. Even though Dan had the toughest angle, he used his chipping skills to narrowly miss the bunker and cosy one of his shots within 6 feet of the pin. The fourth game was to the same pin and once again the second round of shots improved greatly and there was a cluster of balls around the pin. With Ted narrowly getting the nod just from Luke, much to the delight of Ted.
It was then time to go hit some balls down the range. Despite everybody’s normal incessant requests to use the driver, 7 iron was the choice of club. After 15 minutes of fine tuning and some pre-empting what the final game would be and trying to hit into the bunker, the final team game was upon the group. The bunker game was the option again and Dan showed a clean pair of heels to get 5 balls in quick time but not before Henry and Luke (twice) showed that they can do it as well, giving Team R the victory for the week. The ball striking was generally very good and there were quite a few balls unlucky not to drop in, with 3 balls sitting right on the cusp of dropping in, but failing to go that extra bit, much top the disappointment of the players and gallery.
Next week will be full swing, including drivers!!
Sunday August 25th
Silver / Intermediate Program
Week 6 of the Term 3 Silver Program, like last week, brought beautiful conditions.
During the week the children got to play the first few holes of the Beach course. There were 6 participants that were broken up into 2 teams for Ambrose play, Team R consisting Conor, Ollie and Jake and Team L comprising Bryce, George and Sophie. Generally, the quality of the golf was very good (once again apart from some questionable putting), with the highlight being George’s monster drive off the first, which unfortunately for his team ended up in the greenside bunker. It all came down to the final green. Entering the hole on the same score, Team R set a high benchmark by making a bogey 6 on the long Par 5, a great score considering the length of the hole and it playing into the wind. Team L were not to be outdone and after some great ball striking they were positioned just to the left of the green in the infamous gully, where many an approach shot runs to. The equation was simple get up and down to halve the hole. The pin was all the way up the back right of the green and left them with a tough assignment. With the other team watching on George’s chip came out a bit hot but scared the gallery by running over the edge of the cup before finishing off the back of the green. Bryce and Sophie’s chips came up well short of the pin to leave them the unlikely proposition of having to hole out from 10 metres to halve the match. Unfortunately for Team L it was not to be and team R got the victory.
On Sunday, the group got to work on their pitching followed by some splashing out of the bunkers. Of course, there were Team Games involved and this week’s teams were Team L, Alex, Ollie and Sophie versus Team R, Conor, George and Jake. The first game was pitching to a front pin about 25 metres away and George struck the first blow with a crisply struck wedge finishing inside 3 feet. The second round was to the same pin and this time the group improved tremendously with Alex and Sophie hitting the closest, within 2 feet and there being another 5 balls inside 10 feet of the pin.
The third game was to a pin tucked over the right side of the green with rough and bunker lurking within 9 feet of the pin. George showed that he was on the ball when it came to competition time this week and his ball ended up 7 feet from the pin just knocking off Ollie’s pitch by less than half a foot. The next round was to the same pin and this time it was Sophie’s turn to level the scores at 2 all, just from George’s pitch.
The fifth game was out of the bunkers and despite most of the children getting the hang of getting out of the bunkers in practice, most had a bit of bunker blindness and failed to use the technique required to get them out of the bunker successfully. That is apart from Sophie who showed her domination for the day winning both rounds of the bunker games, including one shot finishing inside 1 foot from the pin to give Team L the victory.
Next week we will be full swing, including drivers, which I am sure will please most of the juniors.
Sunday September 1st
Week 7 of the Term 3 Program saw it clash with Father’s Day, but that didn’t stop 6 of the children bringing their dads with them to the golf course, obviously they had made them breakfast in bed beforehand.
A full swing range session was the calling for the day. After 20 minutes of practice it was time for team games. The 2 teams this week were Team L consisting of Alex, Daniel and Ollie versus Team R, George, Jake and Sophie. The game, of course, was hitting into the bunker in the middle of the range.
As it has nearly always been the case this term, the team with the view straight at the bunker, Team R, dominated both the first game and cleaned up 10 – 4. The teams then swapped places to hit from, and as if just to mock me, the team with the direct route, this time Team L once again dominated 10 – 4 to leave the match all tied.
Once the second game had concluded, I buckled to the relentless nagging of everyone (apart from George who wanted to putt) wanting to smash some drivers down the range. After they were reminded about the set up changes for the driver, they all got a chance to unleash a few drives. As always there was a mixture of brilliance and entertainment, none more so than Alex, who tried a different driver and sent a few balls way downtown, to the amazement of the gallery and myself.
The final game, however, was not about brute power and speed, it was about being able to hit the driver down a small fairway. For the purpose of the game, we used the 2 flags in the middle of the range, which are positioned about 10 metres apart (much narrower than any fairway they will encounter). Each child got to hit 3 balls only, we had to take the buckets away from them so that they couldn’t have the temptation to use more golf balls. The challenge was tough as they had to hit the ball in the air and be considered a good strike for it to count. Sophie hit the winning shot from her last ball to give her team the win for the week.
Next week we will be re –visit some putting before finishing with some full swing work.
Sunday August 25th
Week 6 of the program gave the children a chance to play a few holes of the Beach Course against me on the Friday. Noah was absent with State duties for Cross Country, leaving Ethan, Ollie and Tom to hold the fort and see if they could beat me (again). It was a normal evening at 13thBeach with the wind blowing about 40kms per hour but apart from that the weather was beautiful.
The children wanted to challenge themselves so they had to hit off from the White tees, while I teed off from the Blue tees. The children played Ambrose and they were given 2 shots per hole for a handicap. After I made a rare up and down for par and Tom had played a great little pitch to 6 feet, which they 2 putted for a 6 from, the first hole was halved.
The second hole saw the pin tucked behind the left hand bunker and with the wind blowing behind our back, a shot landing over the bunker would not hold the green. A solid approach shot from Ollie onto the middle of the green set the children up for a win on the hole, but 3 putts from them left the door ajar and I took it to make par and halve the hole with them. This could be a costly mistake.
The third hole was a formality for them after Ethan flushed a fairway wood that went onto the green, only to fall off the treacherous slope at the front right of the green, they safely played onto the green and 2 putted from close range to go 1 up.
This left the tough, long, Par 5 to finish and it was playing into the strong breeze. After I nearly played the David Law shot (only to see it come back down the deadly slope at the front of the green) the children looked in trouble. But some solid ball striking saw them just short of the green in 4. This still left an extremely challenging pitch, as the pin was place on the little ledge at the front of the green. This required a precise pitch and run up the slope to a 10 foot table. Miss the table and the ball would roll off the green. Unfortunately for myself, Ethan played a majestic little 8 iron pitch and run to finish inside 4 feet from the cup. After I made another up and down, the boys face a tricky, downhill, left to right, 4 footer to win the match, which they duly held to get bragging rights again. Next time the handicaps will be changed, but congratulations boys.
Noah and Tom were both absent from the Sunday program leaving Ethan and Ollie time to work on their putting and full swing.
Sunday September 1st
Even though it was Father’s Day it was great to see all 4 of the children turn up keen and ready for what the session would bring. This week, we took the opportunity to get out onto the golf course for some match play.
The teams this week were Ethan and Tom versus Noah and Ollie. The children wanted to challenge themselves again and tee off from the white markers. This was despite there being a 30km per hour wind blowing straight into their face. A long carry over the wasteland awaited them. Ethan and Tom saw there drives just carry the wasteland whilst Noah and Ollie’s drives just failed, with Ollie in the best position. Maybe it was the wind, but there was a bit of rust on the first hole from Noah and Ollie, meanwhile, after they had taken Ethan’s drive, Tom played a solid second and a brilliant hybrid 3rdonto the green to convincingly win the first hole.
For the second hole, we decided to go back to the yellow tees. All four children nailed their drives down the fairway, with Ethan and Tom taking on the fairway bunker and finishing 40 metres closer and with a great angle to the green, after a great pitch from Ethan they were in prime position, lying only 6 feet from the pin after 3 shots. After Noah’s tee shot was taken, Ollie played 2 solid shots with his favourite club, 7 iron, to land on the green in 3, but about 60 feet away. Unfortunately, they 3 putted from a tricky spot to enable an easy 2 putt from Ethan and Tom to win the hole and the 3 hole match.
The final hole would have no bearing on the final result, but there was still plenty of pride on the table. Noah shook off the rust to nail his best drive of the day, way down the fairway, whilst Ethan unleashed another bomb to end up 10 metres in front of Noah, both in ideal positions. From here the best positioned ball ended up in the nest of fairway bunkers, positioned 60 metres from the green. This was a great opportunity for the children to taste the tough challenge of a bunker shot of this distance. The trick is to stay balanced throughout the swing and just play it like a normal shot from the fairway. This is easier said than done as the bunker lip is very intimidating. Noah fared the best out of all and just showed that this is a shot that we all must practice to become more confident in. Noah and Ollie played the hole out without a matter of fuss to post a highly commendable bogey 6, whilst Ethan and Tom had some misadventures around the green to comfortably concede the hole.
Next week we will do some full swing work on the range before the children challenge themselves at the Torquay Junior Tournament.