Playing with a Future Super Star of Golf
In most PGA Pro Am’s, I think you’d find the amateurs in awe of the professionals they play with and some of the shots they execute but recently at the Howlong Pro Am it was the exact opposite in our group.
The Howlong Pro Am held recently on the Murray River introduced a future star of the game.The professional winner of the event, Raff Toporoso shot 65 (-5) and would have been beaten by this future star if he had been playing Stableford off a scratch handicap.The future star is 10 year old, Hilary Wealperspeat.
The day started with a walk to the 15th tee, my allotted tee in the shotgun start, where my playing partners for the day were waiting for me.Sari introduced herself and her daughter Hilary who was barely taller than her driver.After swapping cards and a quick chat we hit our opening shots of the day and set off.
Walking down the first fairway next to their cart, I found out Hilary was only 10 year old and have to admit to thinking that it could be a long day on the course.Now, don’t misunderstand me, I love coaching kids.They are the future members of our golf clubs and budding professionals.Most 10 year olds however, are usually just starting to learn the etiquette and how to play the game so I thought it might make it a little difficult to concentrate.How mistaken I was!
Young Hilary was playing with the grace and poise of a seasoned professional.She had a beautifully balanced and smooth tempo swing that any golfer would be envious of.She rarely miss hit a golf shot or left the fairway.Twice she hit her ball into a green side bunker and both times she got it out and onto the green within 15 feet from the hole first time.
Now instead of finding it hard to concentrate on my own game I found myself having to concentrate harder.After a couple of holes she had her first par of the day and luckily I had played a couple of good shots and manage to tie her score with a par of my own.I then thought of what my peers might say if I was beaten on a hole by a 10 year old.I mentioned to her that I had to try hard then to not get beaten on that hole after she played it so well…With some encouraging words (and worried thoughts) we continued on.
I was playing OK, even par after 8 holes and we stood up on the fifth hole.A 120 metre par three.I hit a pitching wedge straight over the pin and finished about 4 feet past and just left of the hole.Hilary teed up her ball and made another beautifully smooth and balanced swing sending the ball straight at the pin.The ball landed just short of the green and rolled up towards the pin looking like it might go in.The ball finished within a foot of the hole and to my dismay there were a few spectators to witness my first defeat of the day from the amazingly talented Hilary.Her shot was good enough to win Nearest to the Pin for the whole day against the rest of the field.One of the spectators kindly reminded me that I was just beaten by a 10 year old for Nearest the Pin… All I could say was, “I tried my hardest”
With Hilary’s ball sitting within a foot of the hole, the pressure was on my putt.I knew I had to make it or face my peers.My putt now seemed twice the distance and the hole half the diameter.In front of me was a tricky 4 foot downhill and left to right breaking putt.I hit the putt firm and at the left edge but I hadn’t allowed enough break and even though it caught the edge of the hole it didn’t go in.I holed my return putt and then Hilary calmly addressed her ball and put me out of my misery.She had made a birdie to my par and looked at me with a big grin.All I could say was “Great Birdie!!” albeit through clenched teeth.
Hilary, off her 31 handicap, she had 3 pars and a birdie for the day.She finished with 42 Stableford points shooting a 95 off the stick. She had the best stableford score on the day and was only 8 shots behind the highest professional score. I ended up with 73 and managed to win last money on the day but I certainly got a lesson in golf.
Credit must go to Sari, Hilary’s mother, who coaches her daughter.Sari herself is an accomplished golfer off 4 so it’s not difficult to see where young Hilary gets her talent from.Hilary was an absolute delight to play with and watch and far more mature than her age suggests.
After the round when I was having a bit of a chat with Hilary I asked her if she loved golf while she said YES straight away it was the BUT… that came after it that astonished me.Hilary’s reply was “Yes BUT, I love school a little more.”
I predict that I will be hearing the name Hilary Wealperspeat sometime in the future, whether it is for her golfing prowess or something else she excels in is the big question.
Cardinia Beaconhills Golf Links – Teaching Professional
Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria
P.S. If you would like a golf lesson from the professional who got toweled up by a ten year old on the course then please contact me. Great advertisement I know! 😉