04 May 2023 | Amateur golf |

Elite golfers at HP camp in Melbourne

by Martin Blake

Min Woo Lee, Jack Buchanan, Belinda Ji image
Amateurs Jack Buchanan (SA) and Belinda Ji (NSW) get up close to pro Min Woo Lee at the camp.

Australia’s best amateurs and several young up-and-coming professionals have this week completed an intense two-day camp run by Golf Australia’s High Performance team at the Australian Golf Centre – the first to be held at the AGC in Melbourne since its opening in 2021.

The 15 players from across the country took part in a ‘Transition Camp’, aimed at helping young athletes through the difficult latter years of their amateur careers and through the first part of professional careers.

It included a Q&A session with touring professional Min Woo Lee, who was invited to the camp by Golf Australia and who took the opportunity to do some work with his coach Ritchie Smith before he heads to the United States to resume playing.

Some of the topics covered during the two-day camp included:

- Supplements: What can help with recovery, and what can cause problems because in some countries, they are not batch-tested. - Jet lag and how to present for golf in the best possible shape after extended travel. - Media training and what to expect from interviews. - Nutrition - Sports science

The athletes also performed skill rotations with some of Australia’s top coaches, and were addressed by player managers Tony Bouffler and Matt Cutler.

“We see it as hugely important,” said Tony Meyer, Golf Australia’s High Performance Director.

“We’re about that transitional phase. If you look at golfers, a lot of them don’t progress in that period. They don’t handle what they come up against. The competition’s harder, they’re lonely, they travel more. All those things impact.

“We know from our experience that the last two years of an amateur career and the first three years of your professional career are the most critical.

“This camp will help them prepare for the challenges of competing international against tougher competition, having to use a caddie, all that stuff. It will help them prepare for that stage of their career.”

High Performance Managers included Matt Ballard (Qld), Cameron Vincent (Vic), Adrian Wickstein (SA) and Khan Pullen (NSW).

Coaches included Ritchie Smith (WA) and Dan Whyley (Vic).

The athletes were: Justice Bosio, Louis Dobbelaar, Quinn Croker (Queensland), Harrison Crowe, Jeffrey Guan, Belinda Ji, Jye Pickin (NSW), Keeley Marx, Jasper Stubbs (Victoria), Caitlin Peirce, Jack Thompson, Jack Buchanan (South Australia), Connor Fewkes, Connor McKinney, Josh Greer (WA).

Previously national camps were held in Houston, Texas, but the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to that as a venue.

“This is a different camp,” said Meyer. “I wouldn’t compare it with a previous camp.”

The camp is slotted to be held annually at the AGC.

“We’ve looked at all aspects of our game, so it’s good to highlight wha you do well and what you don’t do well,” said Justice Bosio, the Queenslander who played in the Augusta National Women's Amateur this year.

“It’s cool having Min Woo here as well. Really good insight into how hard it is to get to where he is.

“It’s been really beneficial. Most of us are probably looking to turn in the next six months to two years’ maximum. It’s just such a critical time. I think everyone’s going to take a lot out of it. It’s nice to hang out with everyone as well!”

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