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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 218
W HEN discussing or writing stories on the rising crop of Australian amateur golfers, it’s best to do it quickly. Delay for more than a couple of hours and you’ll most likely find the details outdated, as another young upstart will have emerged in those precious minutes and have done something spectacular. Golf Australia high performance director Brad James spoke to Golf Australia Express about Australia’s current batch of young amateurs, led by Curtis Luck [pictured above], Brett Coletta and newly-minted pro Cameron Davis, who have swept all before them in a way that no other group of homegrown future professionals ever has before. Between them, they’ve won the US Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur (Luck), the Queensland Open (Coletta) and the Eisenhower Trophy (Luck, Davis and Harrison Endycott – by a record 19 strokes, if you don’t mind). Asked to identify the young players who might one day replace the star trio as Australia’s best amateurs once they make the transition to the professional ranks, James threw up a Queenslander teenager named Louis Dobbelaar as one of a group of talented kids with the potential to do some big things. ‘One day’ turned out to be three days later. Fifteen-year-old Dobbelaar became the youngest ever winner of the New Zealand Amateur Championship on the weekend, when he peeled off five consecutive holes late in the 36-hole matchplay final to defeat Kiwi Peter Spearman-Burn. Whether or not Dobbelaar one day goes onto even bigger and better things is something we’ll have to wait to see, but the performance that’s put him on the map is a testament to the talent factory that Golf Australia has produced since overhauling its high performance program after James was appointed in 2010. For James, who was recruited from the American college system, it was a lack of cohesion between the states that was holding Australian golf back. “The biggest thing was the lack of integration within all of the states’ high performance programs and within all the major bodies of golf. Golf is so small in Australia and when you’ve got segregation and you’re not working together, it’s not great for the development of golf in any avenue,” James says. “It really showed its face in high performance where everyone was bidding against each other rather than working with each other in the interest of building better athletes and for the betterment of Australian golf.
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