Keanu, 6, driving for invite to worlds

Published 12:00pm 5 September 2023

Keanu, 6, driving for invite to worlds
Words by Nick Crockford

Age is no barrier for Keanu Samson, who first hit a golf ball aged three and at six is stunning coaches and players.

The Mango Hill youngster can hit a drive 160 yards, has won four tournaments and is now chasing “points” for next year’s US Kids Golf World Championships.

He recently joined Redcliffe Golf Club and after being assessed by video, was put straight into the Intermediate class for players aged 10-16.

Chris Adnams, Director of Golf, said the youngster has since “flown through” the three-hole grading level and is now playing eight holes. His next target is 11 and then 18.

“Keanu shows fantastic natural swing fundamentals for a boy of such a young age,” said Mr Adnams, who coaches the Intermediates.

“After seeing his swing on a video from his dad, I placed him with the bigger kids due to his advanced swing mechanics.

“We are very happy to have Keanu in our program. He shows a great deal of enthusiasm and enjoyment, which is our main goal, regardless of ability.”

That “ability” helped the Mango Hill State School Prep student finish fifth at both the Australian Junior Masters and Australian Junior Aged Division Championships.

This month he flies to Rockhampton for the Australian Masters, then crosses the Tasman for the New Zealand Open and in December will play in Melbourne.

Keanu’s father Mike – a former semi-professional rugby player who admits “I can’t play golf to save my life!” – said the target is “priority status points”.

Keanu and dad Mike, who are on a remarkable golfing journey

Mr Samson said Keanu has three points from just over a month of this year’s qualifying period but needs six to be invited to the US Kids Golf World Championships.

However, if his son gets 12 priority points, it’s an automatic invitation to Pinehurst, North Carolina on August 1-4 next year.

“That’s what we’re chasing,” Mr Samson said, “13 kids from Australia made it last year. Keanu’s playing locally on Sundays then has the big tournaments coming up.”

This remarkable journey began when Keanu went to a driving range and Mr Samson said “really go into it”.

“His hand-eye co-ordination got better and better,” he said. “Then we went to a driving range near Brisbane Airport and a coach was impressed by him.

“He (Keanu) drives about 147 yards, with a roll out to 160. He’s also done nine holes with adults every now and then.

“But we make sure it is fun. Fun first, … he has to be enjoying what he’s doing.”

Keanu’s favourite golfer is currently TJ King, originally from Mr Coolum, who gave the youngster a golf ball at the 2022 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland.

King was also at the Optilease Redcliffe Pro-Am in July.

Keanu, 6, driving for invite to worlds
Keanu celebrating after another medal-winning display.

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