Judgeford pushes for golf honours
Ryan Waller is back in the fold and loving his golf.
The Judgeford interclub player will be a member of a strong team that tees off for their third consecutive season in the top division.
A former junior at the club, he took some time away from the game, then played at other clubs in the region, but is happy to be back.
‘‘It’s a nice club - the people are great, the course is in fantastic nick, and I’m at a point in my life where I can put more effort in,’’ he said.
Waller, 31, who plays off a 5 handicap, acknowledged he will be be in the ‘‘bottom half’’ of the interclub team, but is relishing the chance to play at courses like Royal Wellington and Paraparaumu this summer.
He said Judgeford have a sound lineup and could push hard for honours.
‘‘There’s a few younger guys, along with some experience, so we have a really good mix, from players [ranked] one through 10. ‘‘I think we’ll do well.’’ Growing up in Titahi Bay and having the Titahi course on his doorstep, he said the game of golf was something he enjoyed from a young age.
‘‘It’s a game with the biggest highs and the lowest lows but I like the fact it’s all on you.
‘‘I like testing myself and playing interclub at this level will certainly give me the chance to do that.’’
While highly rated Michael Payne is unavailable to play this summer, Judgeford have a largely settled side.
Hayden Ring and Jayden Ford will likely play in the top four, with the other spots to be determined at a tournament this weekend.
One big name for Judgeford will be announced soon, manager Joe Cuthers said.
‘‘We know who we’ve got available, it’s just a case of who plays where in the lineup,’’ he said.
After a honeymoon season in 2015, consolidation and fantastic results in 2016, this season is all about pushing the top teams hard, he said.
‘‘We really think we’re good enough to play in the [second round, top four] Duncan Cup.
‘‘Golf can be a cruel game sometimes, but if we strike some consistency, we believe we have the players to do it.’’
Cuthers said Paraparaumu, with the Spearman-Burn brothers at the forefront, will likely be front-runners, as will Royal Wellington.
He hoped Judgeford could lead the chasing bunch, but said it would take a big effort to do so.
With an excellent junior programme in place, Cuthers said all is ticking along nicely at Judgeford.
The other members of the firstround Otaki Cup are Shandon, Masterton, Paraparaumu, Royal Wellington, Boulcott’s Farm and Miramar.
The first round is at Masterton on January 28, where Judgeford will take on Royal Wellington, and in round two they are pitted against Paraparaumu at Boulcott’s Farm.
Ryan Waller, who will be playing interclub golf for Judgeford’s top side in 2017.