Date: November 12, 2018
Author: Golf Queensland

A Heart for the Game

Will Martell has been working on his game this year, with some outstanding results in recent tournaments. He knows there is more to the game than just playing in tournaments, especially after a recent illness which challenged his physical fitness and mindset to get back playing the game he loves so much.

‘I am fifteen years old and been playing golf since I was six. For the past five years, I have had a heart condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia. This condition causes elevated heart rate and can result in chest pains and faintness. The irregular beats could last anywhere from 20 minutes to four-hours.

'This happened recently when I was in Victoria for a tournament and it really sucked.’

Initial diagnosis didn’t come easy for Will, as it was only after a four-hour episode and ending up in hospital, that doctors were able to diagnose this condition he was experiencing. 'Although this was a frightening experience for us all, it ended up being a good thing, as the doctors could action a treatment plan for Will,’ Will’s father Brett said. Further, doctors said that the condition was not genetic, but could linked to growth and/or extreme physical activity.

Treatment entailed stopping his heart and restarting it to get rid of irregular beats. It’s the same condition that stopped 100 metre swimmer gold medallist Kyle Chalmers from competition in the Rio 2017 Olympics.

‘Dedication to the sport I love has helped me overcome some of the challenges I have faced with this condition. I’ve always had a strong mindset of where I wanted to go with playing golf. Yes, this condition has had an affect on me, but it is not as bad as what other kids maybe going through. You just have to push through it and stick with your goals.

‘I have been active in the gym for the past two years, working on my cardio and strength. I have become a lot fitter and feel like I am now more resilient and prepared if this condition were to arise again,’ Will explains.

Will hasn’t let the challenges of his condition stop him from playing and competing in the sport he loves most. He underwent the six-hour operation to fix his heart and then successfully competed in the Gary Player Classic, Jack Newton Junior International and Keperra Bowl. This is all testament to Will’s character, a determined young man, who is ready to persevere and compete at the highest level. He accredits his success to his fitness, healthy eating, playing his guitar and having a positive mindset.

‘During the tournament weeks, I focused on eating well and limited my sugar intake. I also worked hard on my fitness and enjoyed time out on course with my friends,’ Will said.

‘Never give up on something you love doing, no matter how challenging it can be.’