Bright Young Things
There isn't a day when Greg Shaw isn't at the golf course to work on his swing, practise his chip or perfect his put. Jessica Sutton speaks to the talented young golfer.
To be a great golfer you must never give up.
Greg Shaw is only 12, but with a four handicap he is already beating adults, including his school principal David Jopson and many who have swung the club longer than he has been alive.
Every day, Greg can be found at the Manawatu Golf Course.
Whether he is playing a few holes, practising his putt, or working on his swing, he is always focused and concentrating on bettering his game.
"It's the challenge of golf I really like," he says.
"I want to hit the perfect shot and play well. I think everyone wants to be good at one sport and golf's one that's hard to get good at. You've got to keep working at it, but that's what makes it fun."
The first time the Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School pupil played golf was 2 1/2 years ago at Whanganui's Castlecliff Golf Course with his grandfather, Barry Shaw.
"That's where it started. I really liked it. My granddad told me `keep it in the fairway'. I think that was a good tip."
He then entered the Junior Tiger Tournament, where he got his first taster for the golfing world and since then he has not looked back.
The last time he played his grandfather, Greg won.
"He wasn't very happy about that."
He has come a long way, from a handicap of 25 last year to a handicap of four, and he aims to get that down to a one or zero by Christmas.
Greg is part of the senior men's pennants club at Manawatu Golf Course, and he competes in various regional and national tournaments, including the Junior Masters, and Manawatu and Horowhenua opens.
"I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my golf, and I really want to go pro. Playing golf every day of the week; who wouldn't want to do that?"
He admits there are times when he gets angry and upset with his performance, but he has only thrown a club once.
"I've thrown the club once and I broke it. They [parents] weren't too happy. I had to pay for a new one. I won't be doing that again."
Now he's learnt to take his fury out at the golf driving range instead, and try to work out what went wrong. Earlier this month, Greg beat his principal Mr Jopson "by a rather large margin".
Mr Jopson says he had promised to play Greg when he reached a 15 handicap.
"I wish he had told me when he reached a 15 handicap rather than playing him at a four handicap. I learnt something by watching him though."
Greg's tips to those looking to pick up the sport include not whacking the ball as hard as you can.
"Hit it nice and soft. You need to build up your swing. You've also got to practise a lot and keep going even if you aren't playing well. Don't give up."
- © Fairfax NZ News