Ong look-out for Olympians' golfing Edge

Published 14 August 2016 (AEDT)

Daniel Ong © olympics.com.au

RIO 2016: Golf has returned to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years.

And there’s one bloke who is looking to poach the next Australian Olympic golfer.

Golf pro Daniel Ong has an interesting plan of attack.

He’s set up a portable golf simulator.

Inside The Edge, a designated chill-out zone for Aussie athletes away from the spotlight, Ong is helping out athletes with their golf swings.

Ong plays on the pro circuit in various countries overseas and on the side, teaches people to play golf.

“We got approached to set up a portable simulator here and we thought it was a good opportunity to do that,” said Ong.

“I’m running competitions throughout the Olympic Games.

“It’s all about growing the game and encouraging athletes to play golf.

“You can never play the perfect game.

“You can’t blow up at anyone but yourself.”

It’s difficult to hear Ong over the loud thuds as some of the track cycling boys whack the ball across the green (into the screen).

Today it’s Nathan Hart seeking advice.

“What’s the best way to practise?” he asks Ong.

Hart’s teammate Jacob Schmid admits he plays a fair bit back home.

When asked for the goss, Ong is diplomatic.

“Everyone’s been generally pretty good,” smiled Ong.

With the right instruction, of course.

A whiteboard displaying “nearest to the pin” gives some of it away.

“The hockey players are pretty good,”, revealed Ong.

And it makes sense. Hitting a ball with a stick.

“The rugby sevens girls came in and were very competitive,” he added.

“There have been a few people who are very good as well like Shelley Watts, the boxer. She has a very good golf swing and potentially could be a very good golfer.

“Maybe when she finishes her boxing career … because you can still be competitive until you’re 55 in this game.”

Ong tells the story of Aussie golfer Scott Hend dropping by.

“He popped a hole in one in in front of the whole crowd. There was a big roar; so that was quite good.”

Ong points out Olympic competition is different for golfers.

“You’re not playing for anything,” he explains.

And until now, being an Olympic golfer has never been a childhood dream.

Ong hopes this will now change.

Sophie Onikul

olympics.com.au

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