Golfers a fairway in front
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
TWO of Coffs Harbour's finest young golfers have returned from the United States for a well earned break after a lengthy season playing on the college circuit.
For Anna Booth and Luke Grinham, the end of school year break from their respective American Universities gives them both a chance to return home, catch up with friends and have a well earned break.
Grinham, 21, is returning from his second year at Tecampbell University in North Carolina where he has been studying for a business degree, majoring in Professional Golf Management.
For Booth on the other hand, the 19 year-old has just completed her freshman year in business studies at San Diego State University.
"San Diego is just like a mini Sydney," said Booth before describing the amount of golf she encountered in her first year.
"I would go to practice five afternoons a week, and there'd be a tournament every two or three weeks.
"We played on some great courses like at Hawaii and San Francisco, although we struggled a bit this year as we had a young team after four seniors left at the end of last year."
The Tecampbell team according to Grinham, also dropped in the rankings this year for the same reason.
"In my first year at Tecampbell we finished in the Top 50 at 42 but this year we dropped down to 70," said Grinham.
"But the second year was definitely easier for me as I found a better balance between golf and school.
"In the first year I spent too much time on my golf as I wasn't too sure how much time they expected me to put into the golf.
"This year I spent more time on my studies."
That still didn't stop Grinham from shooting a 74 at Sawgrass, permanent home of one the US PGA's elite events, The Players Championship.
Many people have a vision of a sports- mad American society providing a bevy of coaches for students who receive a scholarship like Grinham and Booth, so their performances are always at the top of their game.
But this theory couldn't be any further from reality for this pair.
While there is coaching available if it is sought, both Grinham and Booth still receive most of their coaching from Coffs Harbour.
Often the pair would film their swings and send them to local swing doctor Peter Pearce and await advice on how to improve to come back via e-mail.
"The experiences that I've had has been great with all the travel and the different courses that I've played," Booth said.
"But technically, my golf is the same as when I left."
Grinham's highlight of the year was having a tournament in New Orleans called off the same time as Mardi Gras was on.
"We spent one day at the course and then four days on Bourbon Street," he said.
After such a long period of time constantly refining their game, you'd expect to find the pair with their feet up and a golf swing the furthest thing from their mind.
But not these two.
If you're an old school friend trying to find them to catch up on old times, a word of advice for you. Try the Golf Club as your first point of call.