A 10-year-old’s liking for planes and golf has seen him play the sport in three countries.
Jake Slater was second in the New Zealand Junior Open last year and is hoping to go one better in the event, at Millbrook, in November.
The placing encouraged the Southland schoolboy to try his luck in the Australian Junior Open (Sydney, finished seventh) in February and in two July tournaments in the United States – Future Champions International Open (San Diego) and World Future Stars (Las Vegas).
“I’m really happy I’m playing golf … I really like it and I like planes,” Jake said.
He and his parents, Neil and Valerie Slater, moved from Queenstown to Riverton in June for a quieter lifestyle. They accompany Jake on trips, including taking him to activities of the Wakatipu Junior Golf Club. Jake is one of 132 members with ages ranging from 5 to 19.
When not receiving coaching at the club, Jake practises and plays rounds of golf with Neil and others at the Riverton Golf Club.
“If he keeps at it, he’ll be a scratch golfer … I have no doubt about that,” Neil said.
A scratch golfer can play to a course handicap of zero or better.
Wakatipu Junior Golf Club co-ordinator Simon Boland said members were indifferent learning programmes and took part in the Summer Slam nine-hole tournaments. Ten events were part of the Slam last season.
“Jake’s going pretty good, he’s on the next wave [of young golfers] coming through.”
Boland said New Zealand Golf’s Love Golf Futures Plan was aimed at inspiring more people to play golf, especially women and children aged between 5 and 18.
“Some of it is modelled on what’s happening at our club.” Read More