Red Deer’s Matt Codd is in the “A” position to use a golf term in describing his future.
He’s able to take a year off from all that is Red Deer and head down to Phoenix to play more golf than he could manage in the cold, wintery North.
“I’ll play a lot of junior golf and then after my year off I’ll be going to university in the states somewhere,” said the 18-year-old recently at the launch of the McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour at the Wolf Creek Resort.
The 2012 tour champion has his eye on the San Antonio area or somewhere in the south of Texas in order to continue his golf career and get an education.
This is quite a leap for a young man who started playing on the junior tour some years back and turned around his game from “not very good” to leading the way on the tour final last year.
He does manage to get in some training during the school year, heading to a family home in Phoenix once a month and setting up a net in his basement here to get a few swings in each day to stay in the rhythm.
Codd says the tour is a stepping stone for so many young men and women, introducing them to the game and at the end of a year you have played in so many events while picking up a golf bag full of experience.
“Just the whole environment and learning the rules – it was really beneficial,” he said.
He still wants to compete on this tour and repeat as the champion but also on the radar is earning a spot on the National Junior golf team by playing well in the tour events as well as the junior amateur competitions in Alberta and the Canadian Junior event.
” I ‘ve got my set of goals and hopefully I will achieve most of them.”
One of the advantages Codd sees playing on the McLennan Ross Sun tour is how the two dozen courses around the province are set up to challenge the good players and not crush the spirit of those just learning the game.
“They’re not going out there and playing the furthest yardage and greens aren’t crazy on the stimpmeter,” he said.
Codd says in addition to the course setup, the tour is well received by the people running the courses and the young players are treated very well.
This respect for the young players is an important aspect of growing the game of golf in Alberta according to the tour director since day one, Dunc Mills.
“There is a very good level of support from the golf courses on the tour and around the province for that matter,” said Mills.
“Golf courses that don’t make room for junior golfers are shooting themselves in the foot in my opinion. This is the growth of the game, the future of the game.”
Mills says the junior tour though is just one piece of a very large puzzle for these young men and women.
“These kids work very, very hard. They practice a lot, their parents support them, there’s a lot of travel involved and expenses,” he said.
With all this in place the future looks very bright for players like Matt Codd and those who follow on the junior tour.