After teeing up his first trophy, Cohen Lacey is looking toward forging a career in the game he fell in love with when he was just a toddler.
The West Shore resident remembers getting hooked on golf the first time his dad took him to the driving range when he was three.
“I liked the driving range right away,” said Lacey, now 13. “I started playing rounds with my dad when I was five and really enjoyed it.”
Although he only started competing in tournaments in the last two years, Lacey won the junior championship on Oct. 3 at Royal Colwood Golf Club.
“My best finish before that was second place,” noted Lacey, a Grade 8 student at Dunsmuir Middle School.
He practices twice a week with his coach, Derek Senft, working on improving his drives, chipping onto the greens and putting skills.
Although Lacey has only been a junior member since the middle of 2019, he has participated in programs at Royal Colwood for the past three or four years, said Senft, a Class A professional at the club.
“Every year Cohen shows a great tenacity to learn and improve as a golfer and individual, and it shows as he is now our Junior Club Champion,” said Senft, who has been with Royal Colwood for seven years and turned pro there in 2016. “I’m very proud of Cohen for what he was able to accomplish and improve on this year. I heard from his father that Cohen slept with the trophy.”
Lacey was quick to name Tiger Woods as his favourite golfer. “I like how good he plays out of the rough.”
Lacey plans on working on his game throughout the winter and is looking forward to competing in as many tournaments as he can in the spring, with his sights set on getting into Royal Bay Secondary golf academy next year.
“COVID means you have to book times in advance instead of just showing up like we’re used to,” he said. “But I’m getting out as much as I can.”
Lacey praised his father and Ewan Baldwin for their support in helping improve his game. “Ewan’s a really good friend and a good golfer. We really push each other to get better.”
Although he also plays hockey and lacrosse and enjoys fishing, golf is his passion. “I like how it’s up to you to perform and you control the results,” he explained. “It’s quite different from a team sport. My goal is to keep getting better and make it a career.”
Senft credits his success as a teacher to his peers and the members at the club for making time and space available for lessons and programs. While group programs have changed this year due to COVID-19, the resulting smaller class sizes have improved the ratio of coaches to students. There are programs starting at the age of six and for beginners, as well as those geared toward elite junior golfers.
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