Joondalup Golf & Country Club, WA October 2017 handicap: 17.9 October 2018 handicap: 6.1
Teenager Paris Rive has been playing golf ‘seriously’ for nearly five years since she started following her Dad down to the driving range to hit some balls. Her interest in the game stretches even further back to knocking a plastic ball around the backyard with a plastic club.
“I’ve played other sports but golf has been the one I have stuck with for some time,” the Year 10 student said.
“I enjoy everything about the game. Golf is not the most calming sport in the world but it calms me. I find that when I put in an eort with my golf it also helps me put more eort into other things like schoolwork. If I spend a few hours at the course practicing, I then have to manage my time to do my homework and study.”
Rive’s only coach has been her dad, Marcel, who is a two-marker. She says he made sure she started out with good fundamentals – grip, stance and alignment – but it is her increased hours of practice during the past year that has seen her dramatically improve from an 18-handicap to cement a place in A-grade.
“Dad taught me the proper technique when I first started playing and I stuck with that,” said Rive, who was recently selected in a West Australian schools team. “But I used to come down to the course for two hours and I was done.
“But I have increased my practice this year and the longer I stay to practice the more I realise what I have to work on. There are a lot of juniors here so there’s always someone to practice with which helps, and we all watch each other and learn from each other.
“My handicap has come down gradually over the year and practicing all parts of the game, and becoming more consistent, has been a big part of my improvement.” Her biggest gains have come close to the green. “My chipping and putting is definitely better than it was,” Rive says. “I used to leave so many shots out on the course because I couldn’t get up-and-down.
“I’ve found that improving my short game has also helped my strategy on the course … I’m not so worried when I miss a green anymore.”
Unlike most 16-year-old golfers – male or female – she has never idolised the stars of the game and dreamt of one day emulating their feats. In fact, she struggles to even name some of the biggest stars in the sport.
“I don’t follow professional golf. I don’t watch it on television. It’s a bit weird,” she laughs. “I read a few books but I don’t know many of the professionals I think because I’m more focused on what I’m doing.
“As much as I would love to look up to a professional because what they do is absolutely amazing, I have other role models. Everyone is dierent and I think if I try to match someone I might let myself down by thinking I can’t do it, so I just concentrate on what I’m doing.”
That said, she is driven to achieve two major goals – to one day, soon, beat her Dad o the stick and perhaps combine golf and the study of biotechnology through a US college scholarship.
“I hope I might get the opportunity to go to a school where I can play golf, get proper coaching as well as getting a degree because I enjoy school and I enjoy golf,” she said.
“To incorporate both things would be so cool.”