A month for everyone to catch the golfing bug
THE bond between grandfather and grandson is something special.
For 11-year-old D’Arcy Whyte and his pop Geoffrey Spencer, theirs became even stronger through a shared interest in golf.
Whyte was introduced to the game at a young age by Spencer and his wife Carita (who recently died) and used to ride around in the cart as his grandparents played a round of golf.
Spencer, 70, first taught Whyte to play at age five and admitted his young apprentice had already developed a better swing than his own.
‘‘I was a pretty late bloomer when it comes to golf,’’ Spencer said, having started playing at 40.
‘‘I didn’t think D’Arcy would be as interested as he was at such a young age.
‘‘But even now he’s the one pulling me out to play most weekends and is always over at our house practicing in the paddock.
‘‘It was something the three of us (D’Arcy and his grandparents) used to always do together and D’Arcy and I are continuing to do.’’
Spencer was most proud to have given D’Arcy a skill he will have for life and hoped he continued to play and enjoy it for a long time.
He had also passed on his competitive nature, with winning paramount and something Whyte has become quite good at.
He now hits off a handicap of 24 and finished first at the recent School Sports Victoria (SSV) primary golf tournament at Rich River Golf Club playing for St Mary’s Primary School Echuca.
His score of 43 points qualified him for the regional finals at Heathcote in November where he could go on to play at the state finals in Melbourne later that month at Kooringal Golf Club.
His other achievements include second place at Victorian state schools tournaments in Torquay, Clifton Springs and Bendigo and a first at Murray Downs Golf Club in a Sunday competition against adults earlier in the year.
Whyte said he didn’t mind playing adults, but would love to have more competitions for kids.
‘‘I like playing other kids my own age,’’ he said.
‘‘If more kids started playing golf it would give me more competition (and more people to beat).’’
But most importantly, Whyte liked being able to play a round with his Pop.
They had already started a bucket list of courses they wanted to play on one day, with Barham, Cobram, Peninsula and Mildura high on the list.
They also wanted to take a holiday to New Zealand to play on courses there, something Spencer and his wife had done together.
Spencer has been responsible for most of Whyte’s coaching, but he has also received lessons from professionals Ben Patten, Richard Caiolfa and Steven Loader from Rich River Pro Shop.
This October will be Golf Month and as part of that Rich River Golf Club will hold a number of activities for all ages and abilities.
A family fun day will be run on October 15 with free entry between 10am-1pm for all welcome and a short game clinic for women will take place on October 2 and run for three weeks.
Twilight coaching for men and women will also be available from October 12, running every second Thursday from 5.30pm-6.30pm for four weeks, and MyGolf junior coaching will also be held from November 2, running for five weeks.
Golf Australia has also given people the opportunity to win one of four ultimate four-day golf bug adventures to Barnbougle and King Island with a mate by telling them how they were sharing the game.
Whyte had already entered and would be sharing the holiday with his Pop if they got the chance.
‘‘I would share the ‘golf bug’ with someone I love to the moon and back, my Pop,’’ he said.
‘‘We both love playing golf together in local Sunday competitions, and it’s our dream to go away on a little golfing holiday together.
‘‘He hasn’t been away on a proper holiday since my Nanna died, and I know this holiday would be perfect for us.’’
More information on Golf Month or to enter the ‘‘golf bug’’ competition can be found at www.golfmonth.com.au
To enquire about events happening at Rich River contact the Pro Shop on 5481 3372.
In the swing of a good time: D'Arcy Whyte (right) and his pop Geoff are gearing up for Golf Month this October.