Golf: Youthful players dominant

Renee Fowler (right) helps Barbara Parreno line up a putt during the women's interprovincial at St Clair. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Renee Fowler (right) helps Barbara Parreno line up a putt during the women's interprovincial at St Clair. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Renee Fowler, coach of the Wellington women's team, has noticed a vast difference in the national interprovincial tournament since she made her debut as a 14-year-old at the Christchurch course 20 years ago.

''There were only a handful of young players in those days and I was the youngest to play in that event,'' she said.

''This is my first year back since I turned professional in 2000 and now, looking around, about three-quarters of the field is made up of young players.

''Our No 4, Lucy Davis, at 23 years is the oldest in my team, while reserve Sam-Maree Brown is the youngest at 15.''

Fowler pointed out the average age of the other four Wellington players was 18, and that was the same for the Auckland team.

She put her hand up to help select the Wellington team and the Miramar Club professional was then asked to assist by coaching the side.

''Initially, I thought I could add very little to their games but, having been away with them several times, I realised there were many strategies I could teach them,'' she said.

However, Fowler was quick to point out older players deserved respect as she believed they could teach the youngsters a thing or two.

After making her debut in 1992, Fowler played in the next seven interprovincial events at No 1 for Bay of Plenty and was a member of the winning teams at Wellington in 1996 and Methven the following year.

Before becoming the Miramar professional, Fowler worked with Mal Tongue at Manor Park and there were plenty of talented young girls there.

''I love matchplay as it is a completely different type of golf which builds character and ultimately can turn you into a better strokeplay golfer,'' she said.

''Since I turned professional 12 years ago, it is these interprovincial tournaments that I miss the most.

''I am just glad to be back here in some capacity and I am enjoying the challenge of coaching Wellington in the semifinal and hopefully the final.''