12 Jan 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: ‘Rifle range’ readies Scott for Sony Open tilt

by Australian Golf Media

Adam Scott.

Locals refer to it as the ‘rifle range’.

Sitting in the shadows of Mount Coolum and adjacent to the Palmer Coolum Resort, such is the tightness of the fairways at Mount Coolum Golf Club that you need the accuracy of an Army sniper to find the short grass from the tee.

For Adam Scott, social rounds such as that which he shared with five-time World Surf League event winner and good mate Julian Wilson on the Sunshine Coast prior to Christmas allow him to connect with his golfing roots.

For this week’s Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Hawaii, it has the added benefit of replicating the type of golf that he needs to play to end a winning drought closing in on three years.

“Of all the courses on TOUR we play, it’s more similar, absolutely,” Scott said of the comparisons in terms of style of golf course.

“It’s a little more confined space, a bit tight, and quite demanding. Mount Coolum is affectionately known as the ‘rifle range’ and you have to keep it very straight. The greens are incredibly small and you’ve got to be very accurate with your iron play.

“That’s very similar in a general sense to this week here.

“Socially especially, I like that kind of golf, the courses at home that are not quite as big as the golf courses we usually play.

“That’s why I also like coming to play the Sony Open.”

Scott’s guest appearance at the Living Choices Australian Legends Tour Championship at Headland Golf Club in December and regular visits to courses such as Mount Coolum and Caloundra provide something that, in his 24th year on tour, he can’t get anywhere else.

“One thing I feel, if I miss out on anything as a TOUR pro, it’s having like a home club and a home feel,” added Scott, who last week passed $US60 million in career earnings on the PGA TOUR.

“Being with the members of a club and that whole club environment. I feel some choices I’ve made myself, but also being a touring professional I kind of miss out on those.

“Those rounds when I get to visit friends at their clubs, I have fun days because I get to experience that.

“I certainly miss that at this point in my career.”

His friendship with Wilson is just one that he shares within the surfing community.

He and 11-time WSL champion Kelly Slater have each indulged each other’s passions for the past two decades, Scott taking the opportunity to spend time with Slater following his 29th-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua.

While the boards stayed holstered on this occasion, time in the water has given Scott a fresh perspective as he embarks on his 24th year on tour.

“When you’re around a guy like that, you always take something out of the encounter,” said Scott, who played nine holes with Kapalua professional Michael Castillo on Tuesday ahead of the 60-year-old’s PGA TOUR debut.

“Even yesterday being up there on the north shore, just going out for a swim in the ocean with him… it sounds too spiritual, but a bit of an enlightening experience and just being able to let go a little bit.

“That’s a feeling I get from Kelly a lot. Like, Adam, just let go a little bit.

“At this point in my career, it’s a good thing to remember because I’ve done a lot of work over the years.

“I know instinctively how to swing the club and chip and putt and do all those things, and you do have to just let go and do it and not be so controlled at this point.”

In addition to the second PGA TOUR event of 2023 in Hawaii, the Korn Ferry Tour season commences from Sunday with The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic in the Bahamas.

After retaining his card at Q School, Curtis Luck returns along with Brett Drewitt and Rhein Gibson.

The final two sectional stages of Asian Tour Qualifying School also continue in Thailand with 24 Aussies hoping to play their way into next week’s Final Stage and a potential 2023 Asian Tour card.

Round 1 tee times AEDT


Sony Open in Hawaii

Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

4.40am* Cam Davis, Chad Ramey, Lucas Glover

8.50am* Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Tway, Brian Stuard

9.40am Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im

9.40am* Danny Lee (NZ), David Lipsky, Greyson Sigg

10am Harrison Endycott, Nick Hardy, Ben Taylor

Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama

Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1969), Brett Ogle (1994), Cameron Smith (2020)

TV schedule: Live 6am-2.30pm Friday, Saturday; Live 8am-12pm Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 505.

Korn Ferry Tour

The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay

Sandals Emerald Bay GC, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Aussies in the field: Brett Drewitt, Rhein Gibson, Curtis Luck

Defending champion: Akshay Bhatia

Past Aussie winners: Nil

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