LEONGATHA Golf Club members Thomas Simon and Beau Elkin represented South Gippsland in the Golf Australia 2021 Rookie Series Final last month, with both juniors achieving success.
The tournament was held at The National Golf Club – Long Island, in Frankston, with Inverloch’s Thomas runner-up on gross score in the Under 9 competition.
That was determined on countback as he and competitor Oscar Burke each completed the event’s nine holes in 45 strokes.
Thomas was heavily penalised for past success, having to play off a handicap of just five.
Beau of Leongatha pipped his rivals by one stroke net to claim the prize for the handicap winner in the Under 12 age bracket, finishing with 34 net.
He played off a handicap of 10.
It was a long wait for the boys to play in the final, having qualified in March at Leongatha.
The final was originally scheduled for October but was delayed until December 20 due to COVID.
Thomas’ dad Brendan Simon is secretary of South Gippsland Golf Inc and hopes to see an expanding representation of the area at future Golf Australia events.
That is intended to flow from boosting junior participation across the South Gippsland region’s 10 clubs.
“There’s only one or two juniors at each club generally and a lot of them don’t have any juniors,” Brendan said.
The board of South Gippsland Golf is fine-tuning its plans to encourage more juniors to take to the fairways and greens.
“South Gippsland Golf Inc is in the process of developing a program with a reward achievement system to encourage kids to get playing on the course more often and representing their club, and the district, in Golf Australia events,” Brendan said.
There are also plans to work with local schools to get youngsters involved with the MyGolf national junior program.
While Brendan said that golf is not a high-profile sport for young kids, there’s reason to hope others will soon take to it like Thomas and Beau.
Contact Brendan Simon at email@example.com to learn more or get involved in South Gippsland junior golf.