Teenage golfer James Walker will play in next month's NSW Open pro-am

WONDERFUL WALKER: James Walker, 13, will play in the NSW Open pro-am at the Stonecutters Ridge course in Sydney. He plays off a handicap of four. He will then caddy in the Open itself, which features Robert Allenby.

WONDERFUL WALKER: James Walker, 13, will play in the NSW Open pro-am at the Stonecutters Ridge course in Sydney. He plays off a handicap of four. He will then caddy in the Open itself, which features Robert Allenby.

A teenaged single-figure golfer, who only started taking lessons six weeks ago, will play in next month’s NSW Open pro-am.

And James Walker will then caddy for a professional player in the Open itself.

“It will be good to see just how the professionals handle themselves in competition,” he said.

The Year Seven Catholic College Wodonga student contested the NSW Open Regional qualifying event in Howlong and Thurgoona earlier this year.

He was awarded one of the invitation spots for the Open.

“He’s done it all himself,” his father Michael said.

“He just started lessons last month and is a quiet achiever, just lets his golf do the talking.”

Walker has slashed his handicap to four, and he’s not frightened of a challenge either, playing his last eight rounds at different courses, from Rich River in Moama to Merimbula.

He finished second at under 18 level at Kooringal in Melbourne.

“James lost shots off his handicap in winter, which is unusual because there’s been no run on the courses,” Michael said.

Walker hits the ball around 220 metres off the tee, which is a strong effort, but it’s his short game which is the key.

There’s golf in the bloodlines too, with older brother Jayden once playing division one pennant for Peninsula Kingswood in Melbourne.

“James, Jayden and sister Julia are products of the MyGolf Program,"” Howlong Country Golf Club General Manger Chris Rebbechi said.

“James gives back to the MyGolf program in Howlong. He helps out with coaching now, it’s great to see.”

Walker was also the first junior to graduate through the Junior on Course program.

He’s just linked with Yarrawonga-based coach Glenn McCully.

“I’ve only taken James for a couple of lessons, but he impressed me when I met him,” he said.

“He has a lot of talent, a nice style, a good demeanour, but you have to have a lot of the pieces in the pie to succeed in golf.

“The world is his oyster if he goes for it.”

“James has found a real connection with Glenn, he encourages the kids, and James really likes him and his coaching style,” Michael Walker said.

It’s estimated 61.1 million people in the world play golf, and within the sport, it’s generally considered difficult to ‘make it’ at a professional level.

“It’s a tough industry to make a living,” McCully said.

“There’s a heap of very good players, who can’t make a living. With James, he has exceptional talent, it’s now a case of what he does with it.”

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