MACLEANS COLLEGE DEVELOPING GOLFING STARS
Macleans College in Auckland is doing something special with the golfers they are nourishing.
With the enrollment at 2,500 students, among them are four up-coming top NZ amateurs, who competed and won the New Zealand Secondary School finals earlier this year. The six-shot victory was strung together by a remarkable team performance over a 36-hole event. How-ever it was stand-out team member, Jimmy Zheng who turned heads in the final round shooting a course record of 60 to win the individual title. His back nine was simply flawless, consisting of seven birdies and an eagle for a score of 27. The low round increased Zheng’s individual winning margin by 12 shots from Focus Jonglikit of Riverside.
With help of his four team mates and their quick adaption to the course, everyone improved from the previous 18 holes. Wang and Barker both birded hole 18 for a scores of 76 and 74 while Lu kept a consistent round together to shoot, 76.
It would not be possible for the young golfers of Macleans College to develop and harvest their talents without the consistent support and mentorship of Anand Rao. For the last two years Rao has taken the team under his wing as the school’s golf manager. Part of his duties is to organize their school playing schedule and travel with the team to events. Part of being a Macleans College athlete includes keeping up with daily school work and class assignments while competing in school events. Rao, the team manager ensures the players are diligent with their studies and enforces completion of work while representing the school.
“We give students time off to participate in different competitions organized by national golf.” Said Rao. “Also ensuring that students catch up with missed school work.”
Having dreams of playing golf at the highest level comes with sacrifice and dedication and making the most of free time outside of a busy high school schedule. However, four-time Macleans College representative, Zhang is no stranger to hard work, practicing multiple times a day.
“My goal is to play on the PGA Tour and I train before and after school, occasionally with Henry and Vivian.” Said Zhang.
Unlike traditional high school sport teams where coaching is offered to a large group of players at one time, golfers are more likely to practice individually on their own, with a coach or amongst a small group of friends. The Macleans College team all have their own individual coaches who they see outside of school. This allows practice and coaching to be specific to the individual golfer and their skill level,
“Since golf is an individual sport – our top players have personal coaches. In some cases, the players will have two – one for long game and one for short game.” Said Rao.
“I don't usually practice with my team mates from school but now and again we will see each other and practice together.” Said Henry Wang.
Nourishing dreams and aspirations is what Macleans College is doing for their young golfing community. To build and develop a successful team who all put competitive scores together to win a national title happens by no accident. Rao and his efforts to help encourage and support Macleans young athletes is not only paying off with current national titles but giving them the freedom and chance to dream big.
“My aspirations in golf are to become a professional golfer and to become the World's best player.” Said Wang.
There is nothing more exciting than to hear a kid say he wants to be the best and seeing them put in the hard work and reaping the rewards, that is exactly what Macleans College is doing.
Jimmy Zheng during the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship Golf Tournament at Hastings Golf Club, March 2017. Photo, Kerry Marshall/ www.bwmedia.co.nz