Andrew Haigh is an award winning golfer who has gone on to win handfuls of competitions since leaving taree to chase his dreams. Focus finds out how Andrew made it happen.
Full name: Andrew Haigh.
Job: Chartered Accountant /amateur golfer.
> How did you get into golf?
Tagging along with my parents, who were both keen golfers, was my first introduction to golf. Then I started playing juniors with Taree Golf Club on Sunday mornings when I was about 11, under the guidance of Noel Halpin (PGA) as part of his juniors program.
> Where has golf taken you?
I am currently playing as many amateur golf tournaments as my work commitments will allow.
I was also selected in the Newcastle District Representative Team (a team of 8 selected from over 16 clubs in the Newcastle area), and we won the Country Championships in Canberra in November.
I am also a member of Waratah Pennants Team, who have won the Newcastle District Pennants Title for the last 3 years running.
> Your biggest achievements so far?
Here are some from the past few years:
2007 – runner up Regional Championships (inc. representatives from Newcastle district, Central Coast, Lower North Coast, Hunter Region Golf Assoc.)
2008 – Winner Toronto Cup.
2008 – Waratah Club Champion.
2009 – Runner up Manning River Open.
2010 – Winner Manning River Open.
2010 – Runner up District Championships (Newcastle).
2010 – Winner Wyong Open.
2010 – Winner Merewether Cup.
> Where did you grow up?
> When did you leave?
I left Taree when I was 18, after I completed the HSC at Taree High in 1997, to go to Newcastle University.
> Biggest lifestyle changes from Taree to Newcastle?
More people and more work opportunities, but I still try to catch up with my mates from Taree as often as possible. I like living in Newcastle, because the lifestyle is not too different from Taree.
It is big enough to offer lots of entertainment and employment opportunities, yet still small enough for people to say hello to you in the street.
> Your best memories from home:
In terms of golf, probably winning the local Junior Championships in 1997 and 1998.
> What is on your horizon:
I would like to lift my amateur profile by playing more tournaments in Sydney, state amateur events and perhaps some national events. Gaining sponsorship would also be an added bonus. I feel really positive about where my golf is heading at the moment.
> Favourite part of the journey so far?
Getting my handicap down to scratch and maintaining it there has been an awesome achievement for me. I have also enjoyed playing with and against some great golfers, whom I have learned a great deal from over the years.
> Best thing about growing up locally:
The people, laid back lifestyle, great weather, so that you can play golf all year round.
> Advice to other young golfers:
Try to play with a broad range of people, as everyone has something to offer if you are willing to listen. But above all, enjoy your golf and have fun.
> Who are your favourite golfers?
From the older generation, obviously guys like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson are favourites – mainly because of their longevity and what they have given back to golf by way of promotion of the game on a global scale and charitable deeds.
More recently, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have been inspirations to me, because of their success internationally – especially in the face of adversity in their personal lives.
Greg Norman and Geoff Ogilvy are also personal favourites, because they have done a great deal to raise the profile of Australian golf.
> Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will probably still be working in accounting, hopefully as a partner in an accounting firm, but would still like to be playing plenty of golf at a high standard. It would be fantastic to win some prestigious amateur tournaments and continue working hard on my game to become the best player that I possibly can.
> What do you love about golf?
That there is always room for improvement; you never really have the game mastered.
> Why do you encourage young people to play this sport?
It teaches you lessons that can be applied in real life, such as self discipline, honesty, integrity, determination and respect for others. Also, it can be quite humbling at times.
> Thank you Andrew.