Junior Club doles out awards 0
The Portage Junior Golf Club handed out three awards to its members on Tuesday.
In a brief ceremony at the Portage Golf Club, chairman Preston Meier announced that Tanner Boyle won the Participation Award, Dean Stewart won the Professional's Choice Award, and Micah Zacharias won the Joyce Collier Award.
Zacharias had a couple of highlights from this past season.
"I went into the Manitoba Junior Championship, and I made the cut, and that was my goal going into it, so I was really happy with that," said Zacharias.
As well, Zacharias was on the Provincial Junior Interclub team that finished second in the rural division, in no small part to his contribution of a 77. He said the key was not letting animosity get him down.
"I was just able to recover well if I had a bad hole," said Zacharias. "I was able to make up some score on the next hole to get it back.
"I was hitting my irons really well and putting well."
Zacharias felt that his iron play was one of the biggest improvements he's made this year, due in part to him being on the course far more often and received advice from previous winners Brayden Twist and Gavin Neufeld. He said he hopes the improvement across his game will continue as he plays more tournaments next season.
"I'm able to perform a little better now that I'm a little more used to it," said Zacharias. "I need to continue to handle the pressure well because whenever I had to make the shot, I was way shakier than I am now.
"Now I'm able to thrive under the pressure a little more."
Meier, meanwhile, said Zacharias was an all-around good golfer — for more than just the way he hit the ball.
"It encompasses everything from the participation, the attitude, the proper dress, the etiquette, and one that works hard to improve their game," said Meier. "There are two types of golfers in the world — those that golf, and then there are golfers. Micah exemplifies a golfer.
"He's out all the time. He's very, very polite, and obviously he's been working hard on his game."
Collier, who was inducted into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame last week, said she normally sits on the committee that chooses the award, but was unable to this year. However, she said she was pleased with the committee's selection of Zacharias.
Stewart, meanwhile, was unable to attend the ceremony due to his commitment to the Portage Collegiate Institute junior varsity volleyball team. However, Stewart knew beforehand he was to be honoured, but was surprised when he received the notice.
Stewart said the main area where he improved his game was in the tee box.
"I started with slicing it off my drives," said Stewart. "I was working on that and started hitting it a lot straighter."
Like Zacharias, Stewart also played in his first tournaments this year, playing on a junior tour that stopped in Carberry, Shilo and Neepawa.
Stewart said it was an adjustment to get used to the competitiveness, but he feels the experience benefited him.
"It helped us (Stewart as well as friend Liam McEachern) playing against some tougher people, better players," said Stewart. "I had a lot (of nerves) during all the tournaments.
"Waiting to tee off my first drive in the first tournament was probably the most nervous I've been throughout all of golfing."
However, Stewart said a long warmup helped him calm down, and he also was able reflect on past successful experiences to give him confidence at those events.
Meier said in addition to being a dedicated player, Stewart also dramatically lowered his handicap.
"He's one that also works hard to improve his game, works hard on his handicap, and the professional thinks has worked the hardest," said Meier.
As for Boyle, it was hard to find a time where he wasn't at the club. Boyle said he'd make the trip to the course six times a week, and sometimes multiple times a day.
Boyle said the highlight of his season was winning the club championship for his age group.
"I had to battle through some nerves, and I played pretty good," said Boyle. "I thought about hitting good shots."
Meier said Boyle showed a clear commitment to the club and boosting his play.
"With kids today, there are a lot of different things they can do, so with the participation side of it, he's one that works hard on his game, trying to improve it, working on his handicap, understands the course, understands the etiquette and the rules and is polite to members," said Meier. "I'm sure he's been out here 150 times.
"He's been out to club events on a continuous basis."
This year, the club had 66 members, a 25 percent increase over 2011. Meier thanked head pro Brad Young, and board members Mike Clare and Sheri Moorhouse who help to run the program.
Meier said it's key to have a healthy junior program.
"They're the future of our club," said Meier. "If you teach them the game when they're young, it's going to stay with them forever."