Why 14-year-old Kyle is a golfer to watch
KYLE Underwood was barely out of nappies before he decided golf was for him.
The McLeans Ridges player started swinging a club in the backyard as a two-year-old after encouragement from grandfather and mentor Neville Budd.
Twelve years on and he's building a reputation as one of the North Coast's talents to watch - and is already eyeing a potential pro career.
The 14-year-old, who is preparing to test his skills against some of the state's best young players at the forthcoming Academy Games, is well and truly hooked on the sport.
"I think I just saw my grandfather playing and thought it would be fun to have a go as well," Kyle said.
"I like the challenge of golf and I enjoy hitting the ball well and feeling confident with my game.
"It's the best feeling in the world when you have those good days."
The right-hander, who already plays off four, doesn't skimp on his practice.
He plays for more than two hours a day every weekday after school and is a member of both Ballina and Byron golf clubs.
Kyle, of Ballina's Emmanuel Anglican College, has played alongside promising young players on the prestigious Greg Norman Junior Masters Golf circuit.
The Year 9 student will travel with a handful of the region's best young players for the ClubsNSW Academy Games in Illawarra.
Next month's competition will see Kyle and his North Coast squad face talented young golfers from other academies across New South Wales.
"I'm feeling really excited," Kyle said. "I don't normally get too nervous. I'm looking forward to taking it on."
Kyle said he most enjoyed the mental challenge of golf.
"It's a good way to keep your focus," he said.
"You've got to stay in control on the golf course, otherwise you lose your cool.
Kyle thanked coach Greg Stewart at Byron Bay Golf Club.