Northern talent gets southern exposure

Darcy MacRae
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Teens from Sheshatshiu making an impression at amateur championship

Golfers from across the province travelled to St. John's this week for the Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Association's amateur championships, but few travelled as far as Atshapi Andrew and Shantess Penashue.

The teenagers hail from Sheshatshiu, the Labrador Innu community half an hour north of Goose Bay. They play regularly at the Amaruk Golf Club in Goose Bay and this week, made quite an impression on the golfers taking part in the provincial amateur at the Bally Haly Golf Club.

Sixteen-year-old Atshapi Andrew (left) and 15-year-old Shantess Penashue (right), both from Sheshatshiu in Labrador, are among the youngest competitors at the Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Associations provincial mens amateur championship, being played a

Golfers from across the province travelled to St. John's this week for the Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Association's amateur championships, but few travelled as far as Atshapi Andrew and Shantess Penashue.

The teenagers hail from Sheshatshiu, the Labrador Innu community half an hour north of Goose Bay. They play regularly at the Amaruk Golf Club in Goose Bay and this week, made quite an impression on the golfers taking part in the provincial amateur at the Bally Haly Golf Club.

"They're raw talents," said Steve McLean, junior golf chairman at the Amaruk Golf Club. "They've had a lot of fun playing with the older guys. They got to go to the banquet with all the men and everybody loves them. They're smart young guys."

Andrew and Penashue are two of the youngest golfers at the provincial championships and their youthful enthusiasm has been welcomed by many of the senior golfers. Their bright smiles and upbeat attitudes have made them a lot of friends and it helps that they can hold their own on the golf course.

"The first day went really well, exceptionally well, actually," Andrew said of his opening round of 78. "The second day, I had a lot more fun instead of concentrating on the game. But I was learning a lot more than I did the day before, the older guys had lots of stories and some advice on certain shots."

Andrew, 16, was introduced to the game of golf four years ago by Penashue and has been playing steadily since. It helps that he is a well-rounder athlete- he plays for the Labrador Huskies of the provincial major midget hockey league and is an accomplished figure skater (he attended nationals last year)."

"Atshapi gave me a club and I swung it a few times and liked it. That's how it started," said Andrew. "Hitting the ball really well is the best feeling in golf. There's nothing better than hitting the ball solid and straight."

Hitting the ball solid is something Andrew does regularly, according to McLean, who accompanied the Sheshatshiu teenagers to St. John's this week and to the junior provincials in Gander last week.

"He hits it like a man, but he's only 16. He doesn't even have the right clubs," said McLean.

Penashue, 15, has been golfing since he was 10 and says it's a game he'll likely always play. He enjoys every aspect of the sport, from the personal challenges it presents to just getting outdoors every day.

"I just love it," said Penashue. "I just enjoy playing golf."

Penashue travels to Goose Bay every day to golf, and along with Andrew, helps teach the junior golf program at the Amaruk club.

"It's fun teaching the little kids," Penashue said. "They really like playing golf."

Going into the final round of the provincial amateur championships today, Penashue has a three-day total of 253 (83-87-83), the same as Andrew (78-87-88). Both golfers say they could have performed better.

"I felt nervous at first because these guys are a lot older than me," said Penashue. "And when I'm nervous, I don't usually play well."

Andrew and Penashue had some of their travel expenses paid for by the Amaruk Golf Club and the NLGA and have been staying in a St. John's apartment, rent free, loaned to them by fellow Labrador golfer Chuck Conley. While Andrew is off to Montreal for figure skating training once the tournament ends, Penashue plans to stick around for a week to get in some extra golfing.

dmacrae@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Amaruk Golf Club, Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Association, Bally Haly Golf Club

Geographic location: St. John's, Goose Bay, Gander Montreal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments