Golf: Youth over experience on fairways and greens

Wellington No 5 Peter Brinsdon chips on to the sixth green at the interprovincal championship at the Otago Golf Club yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber
Wellington No 5 Peter Brinsdon chips on to the sixth green at the interprovincal championship at the Otago Golf Club yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber
They say 40 is the new 30. In golf - amateur golf, anyway - 40 is probably like 60.

Take a look around the interprovincial championship at the Otago Golf Club this week and it feels more like a 21st party than a golf tournament.

It really is a young man's game. The gym gets more of a workout than the bar.

The Auckland team does not have anyone aged over 21.

Hawkes Bay has a 14-year-old in its ranks, and Bay of Plenty has a team of youngsters.

Otago, with an average age of 30, has the oldest of the teams at the tournament, while Peter Brinsdon (49), who has played at No 5 this week for Wellington, is the oldest among the 75 players lining up.

He has racked up a couple of wins and three losses at the tournament.

''It does make me feel young, playing against these guys. But it is pretty much a young person's sport now,'' he said.

''A lot of these guys practise a hell of a lot and that is all they do, or they have a job built around their golf. When you get a bit older, you find you don't have that time. You've got a job or family to look after.''

Brinsdon, the general manager of Wellington Golf, said experience did help during the week, and it was a tough physical task playing on such a hilly course.

He first went to a interprovincial tournament in 1985, playing for Aorangi, and admitted he felt everyone was older then, although he ''was a lot younger back then''.

''At the elite level, guys are getting a lot younger and getting that international experience. But the standard of masters golf is getting higher all the time.''

Hawkes Bay youngster Max Gill played at No 4 for his side, and is believed to be the youngest at the championship.

The 14-year-old was born in Korea but moved to New Zealand when he was 3 and started playing golf when he was 7.

Auckland selection convener Warren Leitch had a team which varied in age from 18 to 21 and was the youngest the province had picked. It was selected with an eye to the future, he said.