The Clubroom junior golfers got to tee it up with the pros as part of its biggest Junior Pro-Am to date.
Now in its third year, The Clubroom Junior Pro-Am aims to give young golfers the opportunity to play with some of the country’s best golfers.
It is the prelude to the Carrus Tauranga Open, as part of the Jennian Homes Charles Tour, which sees more than 120 professional and elite amateurs tee off on September 28 to October 1.
The Clubroom Tauranga’s Carson Van Asselt said there were 12 teams of between 2-5 young golfers registered for this year’s Junior Pro-Am.
“It is our biggest yet. We have seen it grow from last year, which is awesome to see our junior programme expand.”
Van Asselt, who was also playing in the Carrus Open, said the Junior Pro-Am was a great opportunity for young golfers to see some great golf and hopefully inspire them to improve their game.
“It is good to see them all out there enjoying it. That is what it is all about.”
The Clubroom also invited the Taneatua golfing trio - Bayleigh Teepa-Tarau, Pedro Robinson, Lincoln Reneti - to play in the tournament after donating some clubs to the boys earlier this month.
Taneatua School teacher aide Whetu Wiremu said the boys had been having “so much fun” since their win at the AIMS Games.
“It is good to see them enjoying a sport. They have been keeping on asking me about getting out and playing.”
Wiremu said playing in the Junior Pro-Am was a good experience for the boys who got to hit their new clubs among the professionals.
“It has been mind-blowing. It pushes them to go to the next step and hopefully they stick at it.”
Playing in a team format was also a good experience for the boys, he said.
“If one hits a bad shot, the other picks them up. It is pretty cool.”
The Junior Pro-Am was played in an ambrose format where each player hits and the best shot is selected until the ball is in the hole.
Local professional Josh Geary said it was great to be able to tee off with the boys who had played “very well” in what was one of their first Junior Pro-Ams.
“It is awesome to see them get into it. Although, I thought we would have taken some more of my shots,” he said with a laugh.
Geary said the Junior Pro-Am was a “good taste” of professional golf and playing on a course they had never played before.
His advice to the young golfers was: “Keep working hard, enjoy it, and don’t take it too seriously.”
Bayleigh Teepa-Tarau said he enjoyed playing in the tournament.
“I always have fun playing golf.”
His team-mate Pedro Robinson said it was “cool as” to be able to play in the Junior Pro-Am.
Local professional Kieran Muir said he enjoyed being able to support the junior golfers before teeing off in the Carrus Open.
“We all started somewhere,” he said. “It is good to be able to get out there and have fun with them and be social. That’s the key.”
NZ Golf Bay of Plenty participation coordinator, Sam Kendall, said it was great to include the Junior Pro-Am as part of the Charles Tour week.
“It is a cool opportunity for the kids and to inspire the next generation.”
Carrus has sponsored the main event since its inception and Sir Paul Adams said he and wife Cheryl Adams have always considered sport to be an important part of community involvement.
“Our driver was to help give young golfers an opportunity to play in top end tournaments in New Zealand to help them develop a professional career.
“Golfers like Ryan Fox, Lydia Ko, Josh Geary, Luke Toomey, and many others have developed their golfing careers by being involved in the Carrus Open and are now on the International stage - some at the very top of their international careers.”