Watt drive: golfer tees off at Games

Tanner Watt was the only golfer from Terrace to compete in the BC Summer Games

Tanner Watt readies his drive at the Skeena Valley Golf Course

Tanner Watt readies his drive at the Skeena Valley Golf Course

When 15-year-old Tanner Watt played his first round of golf, he was five years old with five clubs in his bag.

Ten years later, he was the only Terrace golfer to compete in the B.C. Summer Games held last weekend, where he placed 37th.

He was accompanied by over 60 other golfers from all over the province for the U16 age group.

The group teed off at Hazelmere Golf and Country Club July 19 – 22 in Surrey, the hub of this year’s games.

“I’m more excited than I am nervous,” Watt said, before departing for the games. “It should be fun.”

He shoots a 12 handicap and marked down his personal best earlier this season: a 79 at the 72 par Skeena Valley Golf Course.

This is the same course Watt first joined as a junior and where he started working in the pro shop at the start of this golf season.

It is also the course where he has been practicing three to four days a week leading up to the provincial competition.

“He’s the type of kid that once he takes something on, he’s focussed and he doesn’t do anything else,” said Tanner’s father Geoff Watt.

It was obvious early on that Watt had a knack for the sport people love to hate.

He started playing tournaments at 10 and took low-net for his age group, with a prize total of $100.

An all-around athlete, in the winter he switches to hockey and last year his team won bantam provincials with Watt at right wing.

He also plays shortstop in the Terrace Minor Softball Association and last year played for the Kitimat Rockies.

His family shares his sporting abilities. Two years ago, Geoff was assistant coach for the Zone 7 fast pitch team which Tanner played for.

This year, Geoff is still coaching, but on the team is younger brother Conor, 13.

The B.C. Summer and Winter Games have taken place every two years since 1978.

The goal of the games is to promote “interest and participation in sport and sporting activities, individual achievement and community development,” according to the B.C. Games website.

Geoff Watt explained that this zone’s success is hard-fought.

“We’re a very small population base compared to the other zones,” he said. “There’s 100,000 people in our zone, Vanderhoof to Queen Charlotte. The Richmond-Delta zone is 1.2 million people.”

But the reason to go is the experience.

“It’s the friends you make,” said Geoff. “Some of these kids … don’t have another opportunity to do something like that.

“For me, that’s what it’s about. And if we do well, that’s a bonus.”