It was an experience not to be forgotten when PGA TOUR star Greg Chalmers rolled into town to rekindle some childhood memories and impart his short-game wisdom on a group of lucky juniors on the New South Wales Central Coast.
An 11-time winner globally, including the 2016 Barracuda Championship on the PGA TOUR, Chalmers was back where it all began at Shelly Beach Golf Club (formerly Tuggerah Lakes Golf Club) and was delighted to be able to give back to the Central Coast and Shelly Beach golf community.
“This is where it started for me, so it’s great to come back and have a junior tournament in my name. The club does a great job with the juniors,” Chalmers said.
“I think that the golfing community in general and especially here on the Central Coast does a really good job.
“For me to come back and have a hit with some of these young kids is actually good for me in many ways, too,” the two-time Australian Open and Australian PGA champion added.
Chalmers played a nine-hole challenge before hosting a short-game and putting clinic alongside some of the region’s up-and-coming stars. He was full of praise for the way they conducted themselves on the course, however, he was keen to counsel them on the amount of work required to get to the ‘next level’.
“It’s nice when you’re young and good, but really, there’s a lot of water that has to go under the bridge between the ages of 12 all the way to their 18s, 19s and 20s,” Chalmers said.
“The higher you climb that pyramid, the tighter the walk, and it’s a long way to go for many of them.
“But I would tell them this; the thing that will separate them from the rest could be a number of things: work ethic, attitude or the ability to self-assess.”
Chalmers said the drive to succeed in the sport at the highest level was more demanding than ever, and he wasn’t at all begrudging of those just starting life on tour.
“I don’t envy them in a lot of ways,” said the 49-year-old.
“For the younger ones turning pro right now, it’s tough to separate yourself from the pack, and there’s a lot of pressure.
“It’s a fine line between success and failure.”
This year has been a fruitful one for the Texas-based Aussie; from eight starts on the main tour, he has made the cut in six. But with his time on the PGA TOUR drawing to a close and the lucrative Champions Tour on the horizon (Chalmers turns 50 in October), he said he was looking forward to competing against a little more well-rounded crowd.
“The goal is to stay fit and healthy enough for as long as possible,” he said.
“I’m still playing OK, I still have my good bits, but I’m nearly 50.
“I’d prefer to be playing old men’s golf. I think it suits me better,” he grinned.