Regulars and visitors at the Waitemata Golf Club can’t miss young golfer Cole Manson. He’s the one with the big hair – or if the hair’s under a cap or trimmed back you can’t miss the big smile. And young Cole’s always keen for a chat.
18 year old Cole, who was brought up in Devonport and went to Takapuna Grammar, is now training in the NZPGA golf trainee scheme. He has been a fixture at the club since age 11, when he first took up the game. He loves the place and the place loves him. He’s not bad at the game either – being a scratch golfer.
While I had met Cole Manson previously at the club, I had never had the pleasure of a good chat with him. In 30 minutes with him I discovered he’s an impressive and very organised young fellow. He’s also buzzing about the role he’s got in the Waitemata ProShop and being part of the NZPGA trainee programme that will set him up for a career in the game he loves – as a professional, a coach, or indeed maybe ending up as the manager of the Waitemata Golf Club one day. The three year course – a combination of online papers and block courses – covers all the golf stuff but also has academic content – marketing, business, management and communication papers.
“This club is a great community, is very social and everyone gets on well,” explained Cole, when I quizzed him about his love of the place. “I have loved it from the start. Back when my mates Harrison (Hinds) and Nicholas (Svensen) played virtually every day for three years at Waitemata and got hooked on the game. My mum plays off a 14 handicap and my nana plays as well, so we are a golfing family.”
Cole Manson decided on golf as he is accident-prone. He’s broken no less than 17 bones playing sports such as rugby, cricket and basketball as a youngster. Golf is better for his health!
“I have been lucky in that I have had pros like Ben Guilford, Grant Stockman and now Brad Shilton to look up to and encourage me along the way. They are all great blokes whom I have learnt a great deal from. We also have a great green keeping team at Waitemata that I have huge respect for in Denis Coleman, Campbell Johnstone and Cameron Higgins. They always have the course in top shape.”
Part of Cole’s role at the club is coaching tomorrow’s golfers, the youngsters who are just taking up the game.
“We have two great sessions every Friday for the youngsters, aged from five to 15 years old. They can enjoy themselves learning the game while their parents enjoy themselves socialising upstairs. We have two groups over the two hours. The first group of around 30 real beginners (called SNAG – Starting New At Golf) use plastic clubs and tennis balls to get their motor skills working. The session includes games, running, skipping and rotations. The second group are a bit older and hit golf balls – putting, hitting in the range and playing holes to advance their skills. It’s a lot of fun and I get a thrill out of seeing lots of new people interested in our great game.”
Cole says his favourite golfer is Tommy Fleetwood. Not surprisingly he’s the English golfer with all the hair. I had to google him to have a look and he has an impressive mullet!
Make sure you say hello to Cole Manson when you are next at the Waitemata Golf Club. He’s the one with the big hair or smile. The hair comes off quite regularly as he has done Shave-for-A-Cure five times. Either way, you can’t miss him!
Waitemata Golf Club, 15 Derby Street, Devonport.
Phone 445-8716 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org