Cam Smith’s overwhelming generosity and spirit have given two aspiring Queensland golfers an experience they will cherish forever.
Golf Australia high performance general manager Brad James said Elvis Smylie and Tyler Duncan were still buzzing after spending time around Smith in Florida recently, even despite Hurricane Dorian passing perilously close.
“The young guys were completely thrilled that they had the chance to get up close to a star of the PGA Tour and see exactly how he prepares and trains,” James said.
“But honestly, everyone around Australian golf is just as thrilled that Cam is so unbelievably generous with his time and money to turn these what would otherwise be pipedreams into a great learning reality.
“Thanks Cam – it’s this sort of stuff, not unlike what Karrie Webb does with our young women, that will keep Australian golf strong into the next generation.”
Following are notes that the Duncan and Smylie penned in thanks to their host, but also to explain some of the activities they were able to experience as part of their Cameron Smith Scholarship …
“Despite the interesting weather, staying and learning with Cam was a once-in-a lifetime experience.
“We started off by fleeing Hurricane Dorian to Tampa where we practised and played at The Concession Golf Club, which was extremely demanding and challenging.
“After arriving back into Jacksonville a day later with the majority of the courses still closed, we explored the city’s areas as well as the food that there was on offer.
“Finally after a couple days of constant rain and winds, we were able to step on to the renowned TPC Sawgrass … which is just a WOW!
“The practice facilities themselves are immaculate, leaving myself and Elvis amazed. Playing the course on the other hand is an entirely different experience.
“The first three holes was spent just trying to realise that we were actually playing Sawgrass. As the round progressed, the more fun the course became.
“The next two days of playing and practising there were just surreal and the experience was like no other.
“This is definitely something that I will take a lot away from in terms of not only skills, but what it’s like and what it takes to be a touring pro.
“I cannot thank Cam enough for allowing us to experience something like this.”
“When I was told that I was one of the recipients of the Cameron Smith Scholarship, I was so excited.
“Spending the week in Cam’s house in Florida was so amazing. Never did I think I would have the opportunity to train with one of the world’s best golfers.
“The week was everything I hoped for and more … the facilities at the courses were world class and it was a great opportunity for me to understand what is required to take my game to the next level.
“Before flying out to Florida, Tony (Meyer, Golf Australia’s Queensland and NT high performance manager), Tyler and myself knew there was going to be a hurricane that would hit Jacksonville right when we were about to get there.
“We were under mandatory evacuation for the majority of the week, which meant that all the golf courses were shut. For our safety we made the decision to drive to Tampa which is about four hours south-west of Ponte Vedra to play The Concession. There is a lot of history about this club … think about Royal Birkdale during the 1969 Ryder Cup and the famous match between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin!
“Once we got back up to Jacksonville later in the week, we got to play TPC a few times … what a great course that is, especially when you get to birdie 17!
“Obviously, every golfer has the dream of playing on the PGA Tour and I’m no different, so to be given this opportunity by Cam was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“To actually play multiple rounds with Cam and to watch how he gets around the golf course was the best thing I learnt for the week … to see his processes and level of focus on each shot was something I know I can apply to my own game.
“Once again, thanks Cam for your generosity in giving back to golf in Australia!
“It was such an honour for me to receive your scholarship!”