By Emerson Boon (19A01D)
“So what CCA are you in?” “Oh, golf.” “I thought Golf shutdown already?” This was the scenario that I faced a multitude of times over the course of last year. Golf is the smallest CCA in RJC, with a whopping head count of 2 in the current Y6 batch. It would be no surprise for a student to not even realise that such a CCA exists; the only time our presence is made known is during the announcement of our Inter-School results. As such, I will try to give a Golf 101 in the following paragraphs.
The objective of golf is simple — hit a ball into a hole in as few strokes as possible. This is done across a variety of natural layouts, known as holes, each with their own obstacles to challenge the golfer. The player must navigate these holes using selected shots with the use of varying golf clubs, each with their own purpose. A player’s score is decided by the total number of strokes accumulated over the 18 holes of a course, and the player with the lowest number of strokes over the duration of the tournament (2-3 days) is crowned the champion.
This simple concept of hitting a ball as few times as possible becomes ridiculously complicated once one actually attempts to hit the ball. It is easy to lose oneself in a sea of technical jargon: swing plane, attack angle, smash factor, spin rate, release etc. Because of the highly technical and precise nature of the sport, golf has a very steep learning curve and a high skill ceiling. It could take one very long to even begin to construct a swing that resembles something that is even playable, which is why I believe that at its core, golf is a game about patience and self-cultivation. There is a lot of struggle and frustration involved at trying to get better at all skill levels of the game, but these only serve as speed bumps to make the eventual breakthrough even sweeter.
Training in our CCA is a little different from the standard arrangements of most CCAs due to our status as an external CCA. Golfers are allowed to make their own training arrangements; we have no formal CCA-wide weekly training sessions. We believe that this flexibility is useful due to differences in skill sets as well as coaching arrangements, allowing golfers to have greater control over the development of their own game. However, this does not mean that we do not engage in training as a team. Due to the small size of the CCA, Y5-6 golf is operated very closely with Y1-4 golf, and we sometimes train together. One of the highlights that we had was training with Steven Giuliano, a renowned short-game coach in the region.
The golf CCA year revolves around one event: the Inter-School championships, which usually happens in the first week of April. Golfers compete in the individual event and team event, and the latter is usually considered more valuable. This event is an opportunity for golfers to showcase the abilities that they have honed over the past year, as well as to win glory for the school and themselves. Last year, we cliched our first ever A division boys’ title after consecutive runner-up finishes. We last won the girls’ title in 2015.
When one looks at golf, one gets the sense that it is a very individual game. This is mostly true at the professional level because there is barely any avenue for team competition. I stress that this is not the case in our CCA. In fact, due to the small team size, I feel that friendships develop at a deeper level. No one is ever left out (due to the fact that if we left anyone out we’d have no one left to play for us, haha!) and there is a common understanding that everyone is together in the struggle for excellence in our sport. We’re not trying to beat each other; we’re trying to beat the course and get better as a team.
If you are interested in joining us, don’t be afraid to ask us about anything; we’ll be more than happy to talk to anyone!