A month for ev­ery­one to catch the golf­ing bug

The Riverine Herald - - LOCAL CLASSIES - By Jess Gled­hill

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.

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