Since we launched our Wee Highlanders fun competitions almost a year ago it’s fair to say EVERY event has had it’s talking points. We’ve been entertained well by our most junior golfers each time they’ve played, we’ve had great support, lots of highs and even some tears as each of these youngsters plays the game they, and we, hope they will play for a lifetime.
On Saturday at Summerglen our Wee Highlander challenge was just as entertaining as ever and without doubt the most unique of them all!
We welcomed back Cooper Longest to play in his second Wee Highlander 9-hole challenge match. His first outing with us was in the previous week playing alongside one of our regular Wee Highlanders (Eden Wilkins) where he performed pretty well despite some initial nerves. Saturday at Summerglen gave us a real opportunity to get to know each other a little better and a more relaxed Cooper this time around REALLY showed us all what he’s capable of!
Cooper is an amazing young man. He smiles constantly and his temperament is ideal for golf, he very clearly has exceptional ability and we have little doubt that he’s worked harder than any kid we know to face his own challenge head on and build a golf swing that is going to keep him playing the game he loves, hopefully for a lifetime!
We are more impressed by his ability and his strength character EVERY time we meet him and we love having him play on Highlander Junior Tour.
Each time we write one of these reports we talk about our hopes and our aims that we can uncover more young players out there that may wish to come along, have fun and develop their game playing 9 holes of fun golf competition. Frustratingly we often find this is not as easy as we had hoped and on several occasions we have had to make last minute calls to parents to advise that due to lack of players we are unable to host an upcoming Wee Highlander competition. It’s fair to say we HATE letting any young player, who is prepared to play, down in this way!
On Friday of last week, 24 hours before play this was unfortunately the position we found ourselves in for this one as we had Cooper ready to play and no other wee player available to join him. And then something a little bit special happened!
Many of you know Greg Curtis already. If you don’t please allow me to introduce this very special gentleman to you all.
Greg Curtis has been around junior golf for many, many years. He’s a successful junior coach and a HUGE supporter of what we do at HJT. He is one of the most passionate believers in the benefits they will enjoy when kids play golf for life. His endless enthusiasm and wisdom have been invaluable to us since we first met! He’s affectionately known by many as “Coach Grumpy” and I suspect he’s quite tickled by that nickname, when you meet him you won’t forget him that’s for sure!
On Friday Greg called to say he did not want Cooper to be disappointed by not being able to play. From there we came up with a cunning plan to ensure he wouldn’t have to! For going along with said plan we must give our endless gratitude to Greg who at no stage became Coach Grumpy, even when told what we would like him to do!
So how exactly DO you go about arranging a Wee Highlander competition where your two players are a young and developing 10 year old and a …..how can we put this…..”slightly older” and more experienced local golfing legend?
Well, you start by balancing up the player odds right ?
On Saturday at Summerglen GC both players enjoyed a nice leisurely game of stroke-play golf over 9 shortened holes with both players playing from the same tee box. Cooper played his own game with his own familiar equipment and his more experienced veteran opponent played with 5 unfamiliar golf clubs that were supplied to him from my very own collection. Each of those clubs bore Hickory Wood shafts and each was carefully chosen to ensure they were all considerably older than the player using them!
I think its fair to say Cooper was suitably amused, and at times impressed, as his opponent did his best to take himself back to a time when golf was not about power and strength. It was about technique and plenty of patience. A slow and easy swing might not always translate in today’s game to give you the distance you often require but back in the era these clubs belong to (late 1800’s-1930) it was the ONLY way you were ever going to get around the golf course with your ego and your dignity intact.
Cooper played his own game and while at this stage we don’t always look for young players to set scoring targets it’s very much worth pointing out that over an impressive 9 holes he reduced his total score from his first outing by 11 strokes in total…AND on a golf course that was playing significantly tougher due to wind and very cool conditions. Cooper shot 46.
Greg DID set himself a target…to break 50! Trust me when I say playing with these Hickory Golf clubs is not an easy task regardless of how strong your modern day game is so we must give credit where its due …Greg shot 50!
And so it was a VERY pleased Cooper who took the exclusive Wee Highlanders Winners medal home, Greg got his own special medal too, the one we give occasionally to recognize a player who makes a VERY special effort. He very much deserves it for playing the major role in ensuring Cooper could achieve his goal and get out on the golf course to play and have some fun on Saturday. Well done Cooper and thank you Greg Curtis for going above and beyond to once again keep kids playing our great game!
Thanks to everyone who attended this one. We appreciate your support. Next opportunity for our Wee Highlanders is going to be on Saturday 23rd January at the wonderful venue Red Tail GC in Sorrento. We already have a single entry for that one and we REALLY do hope that you parents out there with very young golfers might be able to come along and play….we think it might be just too much to ask our latest Honorary “Wee” (Coach Grumpy) to go through the Hickory test again so soon!
Please follow the link and click HERE if you can make it along we would love to see you there!