Teaching pro returns to his roots

Back in the day, Craig Perks, Grant Waite and Paul Powell were emerging professionals at the Manawatu Golf Club.

Perks and Waite went on to become fully fledged USPGA Tour pros, and Powell did his three-year apprenticeship with Ross Morpeth at Hokowhitu, often out on the putting green until after dark.

Then he went to Europe and got to see the world through golf.

Today he was back teeing off in the LawnMaster Classic after visiting his mother in Palmerston North.

He is the head professional at Eaglehawk Golf Club, near Bendigo, in rural Victoria. Home is a lovely spot in the Macedon Ranges in the town of Kyneton.

Now aged 51, he has lived in the area since 1998 and has two sons, aged 10 and 12.

Powell's days as a touring pro are long over; he also works long hours around the district teaching golf.

He gets to play pro-ams and senior tournaments in Australia and when he spotted the tournaments around Manawatu and Wairarapa, he phoned the NZPGA and entered them.

"This little circuit is wonderful," he said.

"I love Manawatu; it's a beautiful golf course."

In the 1980s and 90s he played pro-ams across Australia and Europe, played on the Australasian and European circuits (often got into big tournaments through qualifying) and even led the Coolum Classic on Australia's Gold Coast with nine holes to go.

Powell had a few years as a pro at a millionaires' club in Norway and at a club in Sweden.

At the Tasmanian Open in the 1980s he won a Ford Laser Ghia car with a hole-in-one. Not long ago he parked it at the end of the driving range he owns in Kyneton and overnight it was trashed, as was the identical car of his partner.

The carcasses are still there.

Wiser and older, as a teaching pro Powell has learnt the physical side of the game better, and was given valuable tips on the mental side from Aussie pro Wayne Grady.

"I hit the ball straighter with more control and understand spin a lot more after teaching all those years," Powell said.

"I found mentally in tournaments I wasn't up to scratch. I have found some little gems recently which have worked."

Grady told Powell how game analysis and goal-setting changed his life. "You need the discipline to keep doing it," he said.

Manawatu Standard