Golf: NZ team 16-year-old's world passport

St Hilda's Collegiate pupil Laura Hoskin has been named in the New Zealand under-19 team. Photo by Craig Baxter.
St Hilda's Collegiate pupil Laura Hoskin has been named in the New Zealand under-19 team. Photo by Craig Baxter.
New Zealand under-19 representative Laura Hoskin used to get more of a thrill out of riding around on the carts than she did golf.

In those early days the chance to ride around the course on a buggy was a huge part of the sport's appeal for the 16-year-old St Hilda's Collegiate pupil.

She got her start as a 10-year-old, following her father, former Otago cricketer Richard Hoskin, around the course.

These days, though, she is eying the possibility of a professional career. It is a distant dream at the moment but she has made her first New Zealand team and is looking forward to trips to Australia next month and to the United States later in the year.

In January, Laura was named in the New Zealand junior team which will do battle with its Australian counterpart for the Transtasman Cup at the Peninsula Country Golf Club in Melbourne.

She got the call when she was in the car with her mother.

"I was real surprised but it was a good surprise," she said.

"I really wasn't expecting it."

Wellington No 1 Julianne Alvarez will lead the team. North Island under-19 champion Wenyung Keh and Catherine Bell, of Ashburton, complete the foursome.

"It will be the first time I'll play overseas," Laura said bursting with excitment.

The course rewards accuracy more than it does the big hitters which should suit Laura's game.

But the teenager is staying grounded and has realistic expectations.

"I don't have anything to live up to because I've never played for New Zealand before and no-one is expecting any great things.

So it will be good for the experience and being able to represent New Zealand. That doesn't happen every day."

In July, Laura, who is member of the Otago Golf Club and the Arrowtown Golf Club, is heading to San Diego to play in the world under-17 championships and will get to play at the picturesque Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Golf is becoming a passport to the world and she is keen to pursue her opportunities.

"After I've finished school I'd like to get a scholarship to the United States like Duncan Croudis and play college golf. Keep the hard work up and try and turn professional and go on the tour to earn a living would be the ultimate goal."

That is a long way from her humble beginnings.

"Dad used to say, 'do you want to come to golf Laura? We'll get a cart'.

"The carts were pretty fun so ... " she said.

Her father may be regretting those invitations. Laura has a handicap of 2.6 and her father's handicap is about five higher.

When they play together he has been known, according to Laura, to ask for five shots to make the contest more even.