Sunday August 18th 

Rookie / Beginner Program

Week 5 of the Term 3 Rookie program saw much more pleasant conditions than the prior week.  Even though there was a strong wind blowing, the temperature sat around the 14 degree mark.

Last week the weather was awful and there were only 3 boys so they got to hit some full swings to keep warm, then finished off with some putting.  This week the children got to do some work on their full swing.  There were the regulars Dan, Michael and Ted, along with 2 new faces this week, Henry (Ted’s brother) and Daniel (Michael’s brother and a veteran of the junior program, usually in the Silver Program).

Each child was shown their swing, using the Hudl app, to check on their progress and keep them on the right path. It was then time for the games to begin and this week the old favourite of trying to hit into the bunker in the middle of the range was the popular choice.  It involves a precision shot of about 65 metres into a bunker approximately 4 metres wide.  They were broken up into 2 teams, the Panknin brothers (Daniel and Michael) versus Dan, Henry and Ted. 

Daniel opened the account with only his second attempt, before Ted quickly got in on the action and with his usual exuberance, gave a fist pump and a loud cry of “yes”.  With Henry retiring hurt from a blister on his hand it became 2 v 2.  The initial winner was going to be whoever got to 5 first, however, the skill on display was exceptional for a Rookie Program and with everyone getting the ball in the bunker, it quickly changed to first to 10. Ted had a day out and led all by getting the ball in the bunker 6 times, Dan and Daniel were not far behind with 4 each and Michael also did a very serviceable job getting 2 in.  This gave Dan, Henry and Ted a 1 up advantage heading into putting.

After a few minutes of putting through the “Railway to Success” we moved into the final team games.  The games were NTP (or holing out if a brilliant putt) from different distances. Henry had his wound attended to and was back into battle.

After Daniel, Ted and Michael were able to win one each, the match was all tied and it all came down to a 15 metre putt to decide the winner.  Henry came up trumps to give his team victory for the week.

For their superb efforts and excellent behaviour (just a little rowdy at times) everyone got the option of a chocolate bar or Super Dooper.

Next week we will revisit the chip shot before some more full swing work on the range.


Silver / Intermediate Program

Week 5 of the Term 3 Silver Program brought beautiful conditions, especially compared to last week where we saw a few missing in action (not that I could blame them).

Last week we tried keeping warm by hitting some full swings before going onto the practice putting green to hopefully get out of the wind.  Unfortunately, that was the opposite case and everybody froze through the last part of the session. This week the children got to work on their full swing with some diagnosis of their swings on the Hudl app.  After about 30 minutes it was time for the weekly Team Games.

There were 2 teams, Team R (being on the right side of the range) comprising Conor, Jake, Ollie and Sophie. Versus Team L (left side of the range) Alex, Bryce, George and Jas.  The game was hitting into the bunker in the middle of the range from about 65 metres.  The first team to 10 would win the first round.  Team R had what only should be a slight advantage, being in a more direct line to the bunker.  This proved to be a decisive factor with Jake once again showing his affinity for this game leading the way with 4 balls going in, with Conor, Ollie and Sophie getting 2 in each to get their total to 10.  Whereas Bryce led the way (funnily enough being the closest to the direct route) for Team L with 2 in, Alex and George also got 1 in to make the score 10 – 4.  

After some complaining from Team L, the Teams swapped spots, giving Team R the most direct route.  Maybe it was the change in mind set, but Team R struggled to adapt to the new line and Team L dominated proceedings with everyone on Team L getting at least 1 ball in, including Jas breaking the duck and Bryce getting 2 in.  In comparison, Connor and Ollie were the only ones to get a ball in and Team L were heading for what looked like an easy victory before a problem arose, no more golf balls!!  In their haste, especially Ollie at times, to get as many balls into the bunker as possible, they churned through 2 big buckets of balls. To all of their disgust, they had to do what most people have to do at some stage and pick up some golf balls. After starting off slower than snail pace, they quickly picked up the pace when they were informed the child that picked up the most balls would win a chocolate.  All of a sudden, the balls starting pouring into the bucket and we had time to hit some more balls.

As is often the case, the children were keen to smash some drives down the range, so the Team Game was left tied at 1 all and some great driving (in between some not so good driving) was on show.  None more than Alex who unleashed on his 3 wood and managed to get one up near the goal posts.  Part of what we learnt during the session was that we need to just take each shot as it comes and a change of angle shouldn’t change our mind set, just go through our process, hit the shot and let the result happen.

Next week we will be doing some pitching before trying to master the bunkers.


Gold Program

Week 5 of the Term 3 Program saw mild conditions for this time of the year. Last week the children got to experience what it is like to play in extremely windy and soggy conditions after the rain deluges during the week.  Even though there was a slight improvement in their short game performance from the prior week, it was still the weakest part of their games and as a result this week we focused on short game work, despite the constant pleas of golf course play.

The first area of practice was chip and run with a 7 iron before some short pitching with a sand wedge.  After about 20 minutes of practice we moved into the first Team Game.  This week we mixed up the teams and sided Noah and Ollie together versus Ethan and Tom.  The first game was chip and run to a pin about 25 metres away.  There were some excellent shots and the grouping was pretty tight.  After a few measurements, one of Noah’s shots was narrowly awarded the winner. 

The second game was another chip and run, this time to the back pin, a further 10 metres away. Tom played the shot of the day, and the Program so far, to end up nestled against the pin, which normally would have been a hole out if there were any holes on the pitching green, to level the match.  The next round saw the children change tact and play pitch shots with their sand wedges. The first Pitching round was to the front pin.  Tom played 2 exquisite pitches to comfortably win the round and take the lead for Ethan and himself.  The next pitching round was back to the deep pin.  Ollie woke from his slumber to claim the round with an impressive little spinner that ended up inside 2 metres, meaning we had a playoff.

The hole and shot was the same as the prior round.  This time Noah and Tom played the closest pitches and as we neared the pin, it was evident that a measure was required.  Amazingly, they were both 5 size 10’s away from the pin, meaning we had a sudden death pitch off between the two.  Both children waited for the other to hit, as part of their strategy, before Tom eventually hit (both children were channelling Bryson DeChambeau’s slow play).  Unfortunately for him his well struck pitch shot just trickled over the back and down the big slope leaving Noah the easy equation of getting the ball on the green to win.  Lacking the match play knowledge of what to do in this situation, Noah went for the pin and his shot also looked destined to find the same fate, however, a little bit of check on the ball helped it just stay on the back of the green and win Ollie and himself the pitching rounds.

The children then moved onto the putting green to sharpen their skills.  Short putting was this week’s focus and after some individual analysis, they played “Around the Clock” to get some game time simulation. After Ollie had to leave, it was decided that we would play some individual Nearest the Pin from long range positions.  Ethan made up for an uncharacteristically average pitching session, by claiming the putting games and waving goodbye to his old, short putter in style, before updating to his new putter for next week.

On Friday, we will be going out onto the course for a few holes before doing some full swing work on Sunday.