Sunday December 8th

Rookie / Beginner Program

Week 9 of the Rookie Term Program saw beautiful conditions, with no wind, and weather that finally started to resemble the summertime. This was the finale to the term program and gave the children the chance to put some of what they had learnt during the term to use on the short course in a Team Ambrose event.

The group was broken up into 2 teams. Team L consisting Annabelle, Henry H, Jarrah, Jett, Olive and Sienna. Team R had one less player but had the older, wiser heads to offset and comprised Brody, Henry W, Max, Oscar and Thomas.

After a decent walk to the first tee, the children were informed of the Ambrose format, which basically means they all tee off, then choose the ball closest to the pin. All other players in the team pick up their ball and then hit from around the same spot. This happens all the way until a ball is holed out. The team with the lowest score wins the hole.

The first hole covered a short distance, about 70 metres, but had a treacherous bunker positioned in front of the green, covering over half the entrance. This meant that only a precise shot would find the green. With the format of the day and being the finale, there were quite a few nerves shown, however, I was very happy to see everyone make contact. The Henry’s from each team had the best positioned tee shots, both of them sitting just short and to the right of the green, with a 25 metre pitch greeting all of the children.

Jett played a great pitch to within 2 metres of the pin to trump everyone. Henry W struck his pitch sweetly but with the greens running about 10 ratings slower than the Academy practice area, came up about 6 metres short. For Team R, Brody came closest to holing the tough putt, just missing to the left side of the cup. This gave Team R a chance to go 1 up, and after Henry H duly saluted, it was time to move to the next hole. All the children were reminded that pace of play was important to get in as many holes as possible and as part of that, they had to keep up with my walking pace.

The second hole was a longer proposition, measuring about 120 metres. The fairway was quite generous and Max and Sienna unloaded some heat on the ball to be the best positioned from each team. Sienna just short and to the left, with Max just short and to the right. Team L had the best angle, with plenty of green to run the ball up, however, any shots erring to the right, would find the greenside bunker. The only danger was the bunker on the right side of the green. Team R by far had the tougher assignment, with the pin on the extreme right side of the green, if anyone decided to go for the pin, only a high, soft shot over the bunker would be successful.

Jarrah struck his shot sweetly only to see it just roll off the back fringe of the green. Thomas was the only child from Team R to carry the bunker, but unfortunately his pure pitch also trickled over the back of the green. With both teams positioned about 7 metres from the pin, a short game showdown would see the winner of the hole. Both teams struggled with the slow pace of the greens and finished just inside 2 metres. Team R missed the putt giving a Team L the chance to go 2 up. Jett seized the opportunity and his putt rattled against the pin and dropped in, to the cheers of his team.

That brought us to the last hole and with the hole being the longest of the day, about 150 metres, the hole carried 2 points.  To tie the match, Team R had to win the hole outright, otherwise Team R would be the Term 4 champions.

The layout of the hole was the same as the previous hole, but the tee was a further 30 metres away.  Oscar, always the joker in the group, decided it was time to play a trick shot and duly nicked his drive off the inside off his driver that hit both his feet, whilst doing a spin at the same time.  Sienna and Max, once more nailed their drives, the only change this time is that they were both positioned about 10 metres further away and both on the left side of the fairway, which gave them both an excellent look at the pin.  Brody saved his best til last, flushing his wedge shot onto the middle of the green and about 10 metres from the pin.  Team L, maybe feeling the extra pressure, stumbled and Jett’s pitch was the best positioned but still off the green and about 20 metres from the pin.  A delightful chip and run by Olive ended up within 1 metre of the pin and meant that all the pressure was back on Team R to hole the monster putt on the snail speed green.  A valiant attempt was made by most of Team R, with Oscar’s being the closest and just grazing the edge of the pin.

This left Team L with what seemed a straight forward 1 metre putt to win the match.  As so often happens in Ambrose events, once the first player misses the putt the pressure builds on all the other players and this was the case with Team L.  Putt after putt missed and the tension grew amongst the watching crowd.  It was down to Annabelle to either sink the putt and win the match or miss and give Team R a chance to tie the match.  With the calmness of a wily, old Tour professional, Annabelle stroke the putt sweetly and watched the ball drop into the cup to give Team L the victory.

Another great Term Program done and congratulations to all of the children for their behaviour and progress throughout the term.  Of course, there were Super Doopers or chocolates available for the children after the match.


Sunday December 8th

Silver / Intermediate Program

Week 9 of the Silver Term 4 Program saw brilliant conditions for the Term 4 finale.  The finale to the term program gave the children the chance to put some of what they had learnt during the term to use on the short course in a Team Ambrose event.

The group was broken up into 2 teams.  Team Juice comprised Darby, Euan, Jake and Ted, while Team Jelly comprised Daisy, Dan, Jas and Sophie.

The first hole was not the normal soft little introduction that normally greets the children for the term finale.  Instead of a basic little 70 metre shot, with only a bunker in the way, the children got to face a daunting tee shot that would test the usual first tee nerves.  The hole measured about 100 metres and involved a carry of over 70 metres, over the wasteland, to a small green.  There were some great shots to start off the day, with Euan, Jake and Sophie all flushing their wood shots over the wasteland and landing on the green and just running off the back of the green.  However, there was a standout shot with Daisy nailing her hybrid and getting her distance control spot on, to end up less than 4 metres from the pin!!  Ted played a decent chip to end up just over 4 metres from the pin, but still outside Daisy’s tee shot.  With the greens being much slower than the practice greens used during the term, the 4 metre putt resembled a 10 metre putt.  With Team Juice needing to pull off a miracle to stay in the hole, Euan delivered and holed the putt for 3.  All of a sudden, the pressure was back on Team Jelly to hole the putt to win the hole.  After Jas showed the pace needed to get to the hole, Sophie’s valiant attempt sat agonisingly on the edge of the cup and the hole was halved.

The second hole was an easier assignment, albeit slightly longer hole, of about 120 metres.  The pin was tucked behind the bunker on the right side of the green, but there was plenty of green to the left.  Dan and Ted took on the hero line and unfortunately for them, their well-struck drives found the bunker.  Daisy played the conservative line and finished up 10 metres short of the green, in the middle of the fairway, to put Team juice in a great position again.  That was until Euan stepped up to the tee box and drilled his driver onto the green and less than 10 metres from the pin.  Sophie played a crisply struck pitch to 2 metres to keep the hole interesting, then Ted hit a great lag putt to about 2 feet from the pin.  After Team Jelly all missed the putt for 3, it seemed a formality that Team Juice would win the hole and take the lead.  However, they choked under the pressure and inexplicably missed the putt meaning the hole was halved.

The third hole was similar to the first hole but a further 30 metres away, meaning the carry over the wasteland was over 100 metres.  This presented quite a challenge for the children and Daisy and Ted were the best of each team, Daisy 10 metres left of the green and Ted 5 metres right of the green.  Dan and Jake played the best pitch shots for each team and both teams were positioned very close to each other and about 3 metres from the pin.  Unlike the first 2 holes, there was no drama to be had and both teams 2 putted for 4’s and a halved hole.

The final hole would determine the winner of the Term 4 program.  Would it be Team Jelly or Team Juice?  The final hole was by far the longest and toughest hole of the day.  The hole measured about 220 metres and was into a slight head breeze.  The tee shot was extremely intimidating.  Either nail their drive over the wasteland, carrying the ball over 100 metres or try to negotiate the 3 metre wide fairway.  Jas took the former option and flushed her driver over the wasteland and onto the right edge of the fairway, her ball finishing about 80 metres from the pin.  Darby then showed that he had been working on lengthening his back swing and smashed his drive well over the wasteland and a mere 40 metres from the pin. 

Sophie struck her hybrid sweetly to end up on the front of the green and keep the pressure on Team Juice.  Maybe feeling the pressure again, Team Juice’s legs started to feel like jelly and the best of the shots was Jake’s miss-judged pitch, which came up 5 metres short from the green.  Some, below than their normal standard, chip and runs saw Team Juice still a lengthy 6 metres from the pin.  Dan then hit a great lag putt to less than 2 feet from the pin.  The equation was simple, Team juice had to sink the 6 metre putt.  Unfortunately for them it wasn’t to be and Sophie stepped up calmly knocked in the 2 feet putt to win the hole and the Term 4 program for Team Jelly.

Another successful term program finished and after some early program rust was shaken off it was great to see the improvement in all the children.  With the weather warming up the Super Dooper’s were well received.

Sunday December 8th

Gold Program

Week 9 of the Gold Term 4 Program brought beautiful conditions, ideal for golf.  This week saw the finale of the Term program and as such the children got to play the first 4 holes of the Beach course in a 2-person Ambrose format.  The 2 teams were Ethan and Ollie versus Bryce and Noah.

The White Tees were used for the first hole.  Ethan drilled his drive down the middle of the fairway, whilst Noah’s well-struck drive found the hill and rough on the right side of the fairway.  Ollie flushed his hybrid to finish just short of the left greenside bunker, while Bryce extracted a 7 iron from the rough onto the fairway but still about 80 metres from the pin.  Both teams were victims of the false front at the start of the green and ended up near each other at the bottom of the slope.  Noah struck his chip a bit firmly and ended up 15 metres from the pin, while Ollie’s controlled chip and run slid 4 metres past the pin.  A great lag putt from Bryce secured a 6 for his team, leaving Ethan and Ollie to stare down a 4 metre putt to go 1 up.  Ethan’s putt seemed to defy gravity and sat agonisingly on the edge of the cup to secure a halved hole.

The White Tees were once more used for the second hole.  Bryce and Noah both flushed their drives to be on the middle of the fairway and next to each other, while Ethan found the right rough.  Ollie flushed his hybrid again to finish about 90 metres from the pin, while Noah returned serve, with his hybrid shot finishing a further 40 metres down the fairway, to give his team a slight advantage. Ethan’s well-struck Pitching Wedge found the deep greenside bunker, while Bryce’s pitch came up just short of the green.  Ethan showed that his bunker practice had paid off by playing a great splash out of the deep bunker and only 6 feet from the pin.  Noah called on all of his fighting spirit to play an exquisite chip and run to less than 1 foot and tap in for a 5.  This left Ethan and Ollie with a testy 6 foot putt to halve the hole.  After Ethan narrowly missed, Ollie calmly slotted the putt to halve the hole, much to the disgust of Bryce and Noah.

The White Tees were also used for the third hole and with the wind picking up, the 135 metres was playing more like 160 metres.  Once again, Noah flushed his driver just right and short of the green, even though his shot seemed to confuse Bryce’s dad who was calling for the ball to kick right, instead of left (sorry Brad)!  Ollie found the left side of the fairway but left the boys with a very tough pitch, to a pin tucked just over the hill that sits on the front of the green.  Both boys played good pitches but their line was just a bit too far to the left and took the slope to finish about 15 metres away.  Noah played a solid chip and run to about 4 metres.  After both Ethan and Ollie lagged their putts to about 2 metres, Noah stepped up to his 4 metre putt and smashed it into the middle of the pin and saw it safely drop into the bottom of the cup, to give Bryce and himself a 1 up lead coming into the final hole.

The final hole was from the Red Tees and as always represented a very stern challenge all the way from Tee box to the green.  Noah, still riding the adrenaline rush from the holed putt of the previous green, really smashed his drive down the right side of the fairway, narrowly avoiding the deep bunker, positioned to catch the unassuming golfer.  Ethan also struck his drive well, but pushed it to the right and finished in the rough to the right side of the bunker.  A tough shot would ensue and Ethan played a brave 8 iron over the trees and onto the middle of the fairway, about 170 metres from the pin.  Brad positioned the ball for Bryce (as Bryce has a tendency to be lazy and not bend over to place his ball).  It must have been the correct position, as Byrce shocked himself and flushed his hybrid over the edge of the trees and well down the fairway, about 150 metres from the pin.

Needing a great shot to put the pressure on, Ethan and Ollie couldn’t quite deliver and Ollie’s shot was the best positioned, just short of the bunkers to the right side of the green.  This left the door open for Bryce and Noah and Noah played the shot of the day, a beautiful, high flighted fairway wood that landed on the middle of the green and stopped within 5 metres of the pin.

Needing to hole their pitch shot and hope that the others would miss their birdie putt, Ethan and Ollie set about talking about the shot that was required.  They decided on a high pitch over the bunker.  Both boys made solid attempts at the shot, but the best positioned ball was 4 metres from the pin.  The equation was simple for Bryce and Noah, 2 putt for the Term 4 finale victory.  After both of the boys lagged their putts right next to the cup, the match was conceded and victory was theirs.

It was a successful term for the boys.  Three of the boys attempted the Primary School State Championships qualifying stages and all 3 qualified and progressed to the Regional Final.  At the Regional Final, all three boys performed admirably with Ethan qualifying for the State Final and Noah and Tom narrowly missing out by less than 3 shots.

Congratulations to all the boys for their efforts throughout the term and with some practice and regular golf over the holidays, I am excited to see how they will have progressed, when Term 1 comes around.