6 Months of Hard Work…. for what?

The season ended for the Cardinia Beaconhills Junior Pennant Team last weekend when they lost their last game 1-5.  The team only won 1 match and halved 1 match all year but I mark the season down as a great success.  The VicGolf Junior Pennant season is a handicap matchplay competition between clubs with teams of 6 juniors.

Surely the measure of a teams success is where they finished on the ladder right?  Well, finishing 2nd last on the ladder this year was far from what the team had in mind and I’m sure most will be disappointed with that BUT, I saw something special happen this year with the team.

We began preparing for the season around April meeting most Sunday mornings at 9am for 2 hours of practice, drills, tuition and competitions.  The focus for that time was The Short Game with the majority of weeks spent on the practice putting/chipping green.  We addressed the putting and chipping technique, how to practice effectively, skills testing and short game competitions.

Team Practice

Whilst the team didn’t finish high up on the ladder, we achieved numerous fantastic outcomes for the year.

Like most junior golfers who aspire to be good golfers, dealing with adversity and undesirable results can be challenging.  Not playing up to their best and hitting poor shots can sometimes lead to “Spitting the Dummy”.  How important this is for golfers became apparent to the team when we visited Lang Lang Golf Club to play in their club competition one Thursday during the year.  I gave them a pep talk before the round explaining they were still representing the club as they visiting as a group.

After the round I had to do one of the most unpleasant things I had to do all year with the team.  Break the news to them that several members had mentioned about what they had witnessed on the course.  With the Riot Act out of the way, we set about dealing with attitudes on the course.  A rule was put in place by the players that there would be a penalty if any team member ‘Spat the Dummy’ during the season.

It was pleasing that no penalty was served for breaches of behaviour on the course.  It was also noted on several occasions by the players that some of their opponents would have broken their code several times.  I believe our juniors saw from the outside what ‘Spitting the Dummy’ really looks like.  Player gets angry = Opponent gains confidence.

It is in no way a lesson only to be learned about how to act on the golf course… but hopefully a lesson about how to deal with less than desirable outcomes in life.  You can get angry and upset if things don’t go your way… but it is the reaction to adversity that will draw the most attention.  People won’t remember a bad shot you hit but will more than likely remember your reaction to it and what happens next, GOOD or BAD.

Patrick removes his hat to congratulate his opponent

In April, when we commenced practice, most of the team had played in the previous years competitions, so knew each other well.  Only a couple would play together on a regular basis and none of them would do anything socially together.  Today, I know that many of the juniors play together regularly and spend time socially together away from the club.  This has been one of the most pleasing outcomes from the season, friendship.

A couple of ‘team bonding’ days were held throughout the year…  I think the best one was the Fishing Tournament at Eildon Pondage.

Fishing Tournament @ Eildon Pondage

My validation of success this year happened in the last round when we lost 1-5. The opposing manager felt compelled to commented to me on 3 things about our team.

  • How encouraging and supporting our players were towards each other
  • How good their attitude on the course was
  • How good their short games were

I feel very proud of what the team has become and how the individual players are maturing.

Being a handicap matchplay competition, we knew this year would be tough.  This was also made a lot tougher by the time the season actually started with most of the juniors dropping their handicap by as much as 10 shots.

There were a few notable performances during the year and sorry in advance if I miss any…

  • Taylar (off 22) shot 15 over par in the last two rounds and lost his match on the last hole both times.  How does someone shoot 7 better than their handicap and lose two weeks running is beyond me?!?

Taylar holes out for birdie to keep his match alive on the 17th

  • Jordan who has dropped from 16 – 8 and was regularly giving shots to his opponent.  He was about 4 over par at Pakenham and only managed to win his match on the last hole.
  • Riley who has dropped from 16 – 11 since we started was only 5 over par and halved his match at Pakenham.

Riley chips it agonisingly close

  • Chris (off 11) was 5 over par when he lost 3/2 at home.
  • Matthew (off 36) in his first ever pennant match, won his first hole and even though lost his match, comments were relayed about how good his short game was and his consistent play.

Matthew in his 1st ever Pennant match

  • Patrick Coughlin (off 33) in his first ever pennant match was 2 up early in his match and managed to get to the 15th hole before going down in a tight tussle.

Patrick plays his first ever Pennant match

(Note: Matthew and Patrick have only just got their 18 hole handicaps and are only 11 years old.  They both displayed their potential in the last round when they were given their opportunity to play their first game.)

Daniel hits into the 9th at Cardinia Beaconhills

Joel tees off the 14th

Luke tees off the 13th hole

PARENTS – all the parents for supporting our early Sunday morning starts during the year

SHIRTS & CAPS – Summit Work Wear & ADT Cabinets

Mary Griffin
Adrienne (Monday Ladies)
Mark Henderson
Scott Laycock

Emil Ackaoui
Brendon Simons


I believe this season was the start of something which will be great for the Junior Golfers at Cardinia Beaconhills.  Given more time, introduce new juniors to the team and fine tune the program we will create a strong basis for an environment at the club to assist with the development of young people.

I have enjoyed coaching the team this season and look forward to watching each of the juniors development as they grow.

Kindest Regards

David Williams
Junior Pennant Coach
Cardinia Beaconhills Golf Links
Melbourne, Australia

Director of Golf & Coaching @ Rossdale Golf Club
Director of Golf & Coaching
Rossdale Golf Club
Aspendale, VIC. Australia

P: (03) 9580 4763

PGA Australia - Full Member since 2005
Callaway Golf - Brand Ambassador
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