From a very young age Penny has enjoyed the game of golf and her golf journey has just begun.
“Squish the chicken!”
Doug Lawrie is laughing as he says it and his young student obliges. Her small foot applies pressure on the dog toy-turned-golf training aid as her balance shifts to her front foot at the end of a swing.
Lawrie – who works out of Trafalgar Golf & CC in Milton, Ontario – says when instructing someone so young, there’s no talk of technical things like swing theory. You have to disguise the lesson as play.
“It’s always been about play. And I think that’s why she’s thriving the way she is. She’s just a lot of fun. She really is. There’s never a lesson that doesn’t go by where we’re not laughing or smiling or coming up with some crazy idea on how to hit a golf ball.” – Doug Lawrie, Focus Golf Group Academy
Make no mistake, six-year-old Penny Roach hits a good ball. In fact, she’s already a world champion, recently winning the ‘Lil Linksters Best Swing in the World for her age group (5-6). Impressive stuff considering one of the judges was Jack Nicklaus. She’s also qualified for next year’s USGA Kids World Championship at Pinehurst. Not bad for somebody who just entered Grade One.
Penny first picked up a club three years ago, at the age of three. Since then, her dad Adam has been documenting Penny’s golf progression on social media where she’s become a bit of a celebrity.
“Penny’s favorite golfer is Brooke Henderson and Hannah Green. With that, they’re big fans of Penny. We’ve had an opportunity to meet both of them through this Instagram channel.”
Despite Penny’s great start in the game of golf, both her dad and her coach are cautious about putting any kind of pressure on her. They’re content with just watching her enjoy the game.
“It’s her trajectory on whatever she wants. I’ll say that right now. Who knows where she’s going to be in ten years? Who knows where she’s going to be in four? But for right now, she loves this game, and my job is to help her love his game as much as possible.” Doug Lawrie, Focus Golf Group Academy
As for Penny, she says she wants to be a “doctor-golfer” when she gets older which should make it easy for her patients to find her.
Just listen for the sound of someone “squishing a chicken”.