Recent Junior World Champion Golfer Zac Wolfe (Year 1, Malvern Campus) chats with Australian Rower Olive Pascoe (Year 12, Caulfield Campus) about the similarities and differences in their sporting experiences.
Olive: How did you first become interested in golf?
Zac: Dad gave me a golf club and I just started hitting balls around the living room. Dad took me to my first driving range and it went well.
O: I got into rowing when I first arrived at Caulfield Grammar in Year 9 three years ago. My dad really wanted me to go on the summer rowing camp to make friends before I officially came to the School. From then on, I just kept rowing.
Z: What grade are you in?
O: I’m in Year 11 now. What age were you when you got into golf?
Z: Probably about one year old.
O: So you’ve been doing this for a while! That’s five years! That’s impressive. How often do you play golf or train?
Z: I usually go to the golf course five times a week. And I play golf every day. How many times a week do you train?
O: I used to train 12 times a week – every morning and afternoon. For Australian rowing, I would do two sessions a day and then have Sunday off as a rest day.
Z: I never have rests.
O: No rest days? You go to the golf course five times a week, do you do something else when you’re not there?
Z: I have a simulator and net at home, so I just hit balls over and over.
O: What are you trying to work on?
Z: I’m working on trying to win the Masters two times and hitting the ball really far.
O: How far have you hit the ball?
Z: I hit my fairway wood 400 metres.
O: No way! That’s pretty impressive.
You went to America when school was on, so you had to balance that as well.
Z: Yes. I had to do ‘away school’ – not home school. I wasn’t at home, so I called it ‘away school’.
O: I like that. In Italy, I had to do a lot of ‘away school’, so I feel you. It’ll be good though, for when you go into older years in school because you’ll have good time management skills, which are very handy.
Z: How do you deal with the pressure?
O: I deal with the pressure by breathing and relaxing myself. I make sure I’m calm and remind myself I’ve done this before, and I know how to row really well. I also always wear two necklaces, which help me feel comfortable and relaxed. But breathing is the biggest part. I just take a few deep breaths before a race, and I should be okay.How do you deal with the pressure?
Z: I do ‘Hand on Heart’. And I have a bubble that I concentrate on. If I’m out of [the bubble], I have to go back in for the shot.
O: What’s your favourite place you’ve played? America?
Z: Yes. Carolina – North Carolina.
O: Where else have you played?
Z: In San Diego. In the desert.
O: Oh that would have been fun. Do you know where the next World Championships will be? For rowing, it was Italy this year. If I get in for Australia next year, we’ll be going to Paris. Do you know where it’s going next year?
Z: America – North Carolina again. But a different course, so it’ll be different.
O: What age group do you compete in?
Z: Seven and under.
O: Did you have to do well in Queensland to go to America?
Z: You had to win that to go to America. O: For me, I was trialling and competing in Canberra, which is where all of the Australian selectors were. I represented Victoria in the interstate regatta and we won that. And after that, we went to Italy.
Z: Did you have anyone watching?
O: My mum, dad and stepmum and a close friend of mum’s were all over there watching. My brother would have come, but he was in the Northern Territory for a school Expedition. I also had a lot of friends and family watching the live stream and listening to the commentary at home, which was also very nice. Did anyone come over with you to America?
Z: Dad and my grandfather. Dad used to play – but not anymore. Papa never played. Do you have any other sports you play?
O: Before I started rowing I did netball and basketball. I still play netball, but not as much. And I don’t do basketball anymore.
Z: Why don’t you do basketball anymore?
O: I don’t have any time, mate. I’m running low on time. I have rowing in the morning and sometimes the afternoon.
Z: Where do you row? In the river?
O: We row on the Yarra – we’ve got a boatshed there – and also Albert Park. What do you want to do when you finish school? You’ve said you want to keep going competitively. Are you trying to be a professional golfer when you grow up?
Z: Yes. After American college, I’m going to turn professional.
O: So you’re trying to go to America for college? That’s what I’m trying to do right now. I’m talking to some American Unis about a rowing scholarship. But aside from that, I’m interested in law and politics. I’d love to work in that industry and keep rowing. But maybe I’ll see you over there.