Young golfers hope to take their game to next level on development team

Dave Kearsey
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Andrew Bruce welcomes any chance to hone his golf skills in his quest to take his game to another level.

Bruce, along with his 15-year-old twin brother Daniel, are among seven budding golfers from the Blomidon Golf and Country Club recently named to the 18-member provincial golf development team. Matthew Bonnell, Joseph Cluney, Taylor Cormier, Abby Hickey and Paige Hickey also earned spots on the team.

The players were selected for a minimum two-year period by the Junior Development Committee, and the program is administered by Golf Newfoundland and Labrador.

The goal is to have young golfers from across the province in various age brackets participating in a high-performance training program. Ultimately, those in the mix are fighting for a spot on the Newfoundland and Labrador golf team for the 2015 Summer Games.

The program, which got underway last weekend with a training camp at Clovelly in St. John’s, consists of skill development, mental and physical training, rules education, course management and competitive play. It will be a continuous processs, with players added or deleted based on a number of factors.

Bruce was impressed with the quality of instruction.

“We have four PGA pros working with us now and they’re going to give us good tips and help us get better,” he said.

Wayne Allen of Corner Brook is one of the PGA pros lending a hand.

Bruce said Allen has been a positive influence on the group and has been working with the local golfers over the winter months to prepare them for another season on the links.

 In previous years, said Allen, the development team has been made up of an older group of golfers, but forging ahead there will be a mix of juvenile and junior members in a two-year cycle.

He believes that’s good news for young golfers.

“It will always be having these kids for a number of years, as opposed to just having them for a couple of years when they were a little bit older and it’s almost too late to get to that elite level golfer,” Allen said. “But now we’re getting these kids at 11 and 12 and it’s going to be much easier to keep them in the process for a number of years and bring out the best abilities.”

Bruce, son of Dennis and Sandra, is more eager than ever to chase his goals of winning the provincial Under-16 male golf crown and the Blomidon club championship this year.

He’s ready to commit to a gruelling training regime, but it’s nothing new to him because he spends every day of summer honing his skills at Blomidon.

Now, he wants to see how far he can take his game with hopes of playing on the PGA Tour some day, or maybe even receiving a golf scholarship in the United States like his cousin Eric Sloan.

No matter what happens, he’s proud of being recognized for his commitment to the game.

“It means that we’re one of the best golfers in Newfoundland, and that’s my favourite sport, so I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.  

Organizations: Blomidon Golf and Country Club, Junior Development Committee, Golf Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, United States

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