Tim Hyland
Fri, September 20, 2013 at 7:00
Stephanie Hunt



A Young Man with a Plan

Tim Hyland doesn’t fit my mental picture. My memories of 18-year-old boys involve pimples, tattered jeans, fast cars and drinking. The young man who strolls over to my table at Café Urban is neatly dressed, with a mop of brown curls, a confident gait and a firm handshake. Only his shy smile hints at his age.

Appearances are one thing, but when Tim starts to talk about life, plans and the game of golf I realise that either boys have changed in the last thirty years or this man is not your average 18 year old.

Tim started playing golf with his grandfather when he was eight. “One day I kind of hit a few balls and I just kept going back,” he recalls. “I wanted to get better and better and its still like that now.

It is this focus - this striving for excellence that distinguishes Tim from those boys of my youth. He is a young man with a plan.

Ever since the 13-year-old Bishop Druitt student played his first tournament, the Jack Newton International, the plan has been clear. “I wasn’t really expecting anything and I won my age group,” he says. “I thought, ‘Hang on I might be good here.’ I just stuck with it after that.”

Tim now has a golf handicap of +4. For those unfamiliar with the rules of golf, this is good – very good. He has been identified as a promising player and selected to play on St Michael’s Pennant team in Sydney. But Tim’s ambition is to play on the PGA in America, and in those elite circles “promising” and “very good” may not be good enough. How will he pull ahead of the pack?

“There are thousands of people at my level,” Tim acknowledges. “It’s the little things that will make me better than everyone else.” First, he says, you have to be organised, a lesson learned from his mentor Brad Daymond, General Manager of the Bonville Golf Resort. “I used to go to the golf club and do a bit of this and a bit of that,” he says. “Now I have a schedule that is ball to ball. I’ve set weekly, 3,6 and 12 monthly goals.” He knows where he is going.

And he says he’s found the coach to take him there. Richard Sheridan came from Dubai to be the pro at Bonville in 2010 and Tim says he’s the best thing that ever happened to him. “He’s very big on the fitness side of golf,” explains Tim. “I used to be very inflexible and weak in all the wrong places.” Richard changed all that, and dropped 4 shots off Tim’s handicap in the process.

It’s important to be fit and organised, but it’s the mental side of the game that is often the hardest to master. Golf is frustrating. Head out to just about any golf course and you’ll find at least one middle-aged man throwing a tantrum. But Tim says he has learned to control his emotions. “I used to dwell on bad shots and stuff like that,” says Tim. “Now I know that one bad round is nothing in 10 years of golf. I think about the big picture.”

And the big picture is playing in America. A scholarship to play for a college in the States was last year’s plan, but after talking to friends who have taken this route, Tim has changed his mind. “Most of your time is spent doing school and then there’s a bit left for golf,” he says.

Instead, Tim has left school altogether. Having finished year 12 at the Senior College last year, he will focus exclusively on improving his golf game, playing in the Pennant in Sydney and participating in the major amateur tournaments for the next two years.

Tim says he has some catching up to do. Living in Coffs Harbour has been good for his focus because there are fewer distractions. But he feels it has limited his opportunities. “The guys in Sydney have everything in their backyard. They could play in a tournament on the weekend but I was stuck up here with school.”

Still Tim ranks himself in the top quarter of the Pennant players he competes against. “I’m coming from behind, but I’m beating most of them,” he says.

He plans to keep climbing the amateur ranks before heading to Asia where he is confident he will qualify for the Asian tour. Five years in Asia and he will be ready for America and the PGA.

I ask if there is a Plan B and Tim says if things don’t work out he will head to University. But when I ask what he would study the truth comes out. “I don’t really think I’m going to need a Plan B.

Tim says he doesn’t need a girlfriend either. “I’ll just get distracted,” he explains. Being an elite athlete means foregoing many of the social activities usually associated with his stage of life. But he’s comfortable with that. “You make more friends playing golf than you do at school,” he explains.

In fact Tim appears very comfortable in his own skin. “Everything is planned out, but I play golf because I love it,” he says. “I’m going to let it take me wherever it wants, and I’ll just keep doing the best I can.”


Tim competes in the Keperra Bowl in Brisbane representing Bonville Golf Club from 15-18 October. Post a comment to cheer him on!




Article originally appeared on The Most Interesting Person I Know (http://themostinterestingpersoniknow.net/).
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