Saanich golfer Willy Bishop will be perfecting his game alongside other golfers from across Canada while also completing Grade 11 at Claremont Secondary.
On Nov. 19, Bishop was named as a member of the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad. The 16-year-old was invited to try out with 11 other golfers after a successful 2020 season – the teen nabbed the B.C. Junior Boys Championship in July, the B.C. Juvenile Boys Championship in August, the Gorge Vale Men’s Championship in September and the Victoria Golf Club Junior Champion title for the fourth year in a row.
The national team try-out consisted of a three-day tournament with fitness and skills assessments at the Bear Mountain Golf Resort where the top players were selected.
If not for COVID-19, the Junior Golf Squad would be travelling and competing as a team but most events have been cancelled, said Bishop. Training camps have, however, continued safely which has allowed the teammates from across Canada to bond. He noted the next training camp will take place in February and then the entire team will move to the Island in March to train at the Bear Mountain course full time.
For Bishop, the best thing about golf is the “fun competition” with friends. He added that no one in the sport is perfect so he enjoys the opportunity to “drive to get better.”
Bishop started golfing when he was about seven, said his mother, Jenny Bishop. She added that Bishop and his brothers would take part in golf summer camps at the Royal Colwood Golf Club as children. “That’s really where his love of the game started,” she explained.
Jenny noted that Bishop is “quiet and more reserved,” than his brothers and she feels he stuck with golf because of the peace and nature found on the course.
He is a hard worker and “fiercely competitive” but always humble, she said. Even after a tough day on the course, “he goes right downstairs to our home driving range to practice and make corrections.”
The family is excited to see Bishop play for the national team and “can’t wait to see what the future holds,” Jenny said. “As his parents, it is our job to help him the best we can to realize his dream. We couldn’t be more proud.”
The teen hopes to golf professionally after university. Bishop noted that he’s already been contacted by several schools in the U.S. with NCAA Division 1 teams and is currently trying to determine which program would be the best fit.
Golfing at the Olympics is also on his bucket list but that’s still a few years away – “maybe 2024,” he said.
To other young golfers, Bishop recommends sticking with the sport, always striving to improve and recruiting some friends to make every practice fun.