Four hundred kilometres south-east of Perth, there are rumblings of something unique happening, something exciting bubbling on the rugged coastline in the regional town of Albany.
Stretching along Middleton Beach and beside Lake Seppings is Albany’s superb 18-hole links golf course, and every day you will see a little blonde kid with a club in his hand practising until last light.
Meet Corley McLernon, who at age 14 became the youngest member of Albany Golf Club to win their coveted Men’s Club Championship. The field was mature, accomplished, and experienced, however young Corley held his form to secure the 2019 title by one shot after a nail-biting final round.
This youngster is going to be one to watch, gradually working his way into some of the Perth and regional competitions this year, gaining experience and improving on his form. Corley was a key member of the Division 2 Junior Boys’ Pennant team who confidently took home the 2019 flag. With an estimated 10,000km travelled to facilitate these Juniors participating in the five-week season, these kids and their supporters go above and beyond to follow their golfing dreams.
Young Corley has not had the wide range of tuition offerings and competitions on his doorstep as some, growing up in Bridgetown, Greenbushes and then onto Albany three years ago. Neither of his parents played golf or even showed the slightest bit of interest. They were baffled at aged two, when there was no interest from Corley in the Wiggles DVD’s, just good old David Leadbetter, the “King of Swing” in his straw hat…. over and over and over again.
After some begging, Corley’s mum Alison convinced Shani Waugh, former professional golfer and highly regarded coach and mentor based at Bunbury Golf Club to spend some time with her persistent four-year-old.
“It was such relief to get him going! Choosing golf has solely been Corley’s choice and he has retained his passion and commitment from an early age. We are so incredibly proud of him.”
Fast-forward to 2019, Corley has been under the wing of PGA Trainee Professional, and former club champ, Mike Draper at Albany Golf Club. The recent move to Albany has been a balancing act for the McLernon’s, taking on care roles for elderly parents based locally, and juggling FIFO work commitments, an eleven-year-old daughter and a golf crazed teen.
Alison said, “Mike (Draper) has been a godsend. My nerves are shot after the race we have been running and its time to put my psychology, physiology and travel agent roles to rest with Corley and delegate to wonderful coaches like Mike.”
“We are all on the same page regarding Corley’s future – you keep your grades up buddy and your father and I will take you to the tournaments. Your education comes first. We look forward to watching his dreams come true to make a career out of something he is working so hard for. It takes a village and its not without its challenges being based in a regional area.”
Fritz Arnold, Golf WA High Performance Coordinator confirmed Corley is on GolfWA’s radar and has recently been selected as part of the Junior Ace Boys Squad. This development tier of the high-performance programme will support Corley and allow him to train alongside fellow up and coming juniors. Previous to this squad, Corley has been participating in the Impact South West initiative which facilitates playing opportunities for junior talent in the South-West.
If you would like to learn more about the Golf WA High Performance programme, please refer to the following section of our website.