BY BARRY STACEY
Special to The Gazette
Heather Drake, a 16-year-old Level One MCHS student, has been selected to the provincial female development team.
The team will form the nucleus of the players that will represent the province at the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The roster was selected at the end of a summer development camp held at Terra Nova Golf Resort this year.
The development team is the result of an evaluation process undertaken by the NLGA to identify the players suited to participate in the Canada Summer Games. Drake joins five other young female golfers vying for one of three positions on the 2013 Canada Games Team.
Once selected the next step in the process is a comprehensive training and development program, which will run over the course of the next 12 months, including sessions on skill development, mental preparation, strength and conditioning, as well as nutrition and physical conditioning.
In conjunction with that the program will also include several competitions during the 2012 season.
Drake has been playing golf for the past 12 years, having been introduced to the game at a very young age by her father, Joe, who is an avid golfer sporting a 10 handicap. Her mother, Bride, who can also been found on the links has been instrumental in getting her daughter to all her competitions throughout the summer.
Heather has been a member of the Grande Meadows Junior Program for the past seven years and has competed at the Junior Ladies provincials for the past four years. The culmination of all her hard work was making the NL Provincial Junior Female team in 2010 and 2011, which gave her the right to compete in the Canadian Junior Female Championships in Sussex, New Brunswick and Richmond, British Columbia.
As well Drake was the 2011 Juvenile Female Champion and upon her return from Nationals completed her Junior season by winning the 2011 Grande Meadows Junior Ladies Championship by one stroke, over defending champions Deanna Moulton.
Drake says “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Nationals and was very impressed with the caliber of play from the girls competing there.”
She especially liked the greens, which were very slick and a little faster than what she had been used to. However, that being said, her future goals in golf include making the Provincial Junior Ladies Team for the two years she has left in the Junior program, and making the 2013 NL Canadian Summer Games team.
With her work ethic and her continued improvement, those goals are well within her reach.
Heather, who hopes to continue competing in golf after her junior days, credits Provincial Coach Jim Stick with the improvements in her game over the past few years. He is dedicated to the young girls and this year has made some minor changes to her swing to help her compete on the longer courses on the mainland.
Drake’s favourite golf courses on the island include Twin Rivers at Terra Nova and Gander Golf Club, while her favourite course from off the island is the Sussex Golf and Curling Club in New Brunswick.
With her hope to attend university after high school, continued improvement in her golf game may lead to some scholarship offers.