Nelson Golf Club pro Nick Loach grabs his ball from a hole at the Nelson Golf Club last week after earlier hitting a record-equalling 10 under par, 61. Photo: Andrew Board.

Nick’s 10 under par equals club record

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At nine under par and standing near the edge of the green on his last hole of the day, Nelson Golf Club professional Nick Loach thought he’d blown his record-equalling round.

“I went for the hole and chipped it too hard, it went about 8 feet past the hole and I thought I’d stuffed it.”

It left Nick, 22, with a tough birdie putt downhill to tie the course record at the club, a ten under 61, set by Sean Riordan, a fellow pro, who now plays on the Asian Development Tour.

Nick steadied himself, tried not to think about the enormity of his putt, and stroked the ball into the hole. His reaction? “Relief”.

“I really thought I’d blown it with my chip and I was just so relieved that I managed to sink the putt,” says Nick.

After the putt came the high fives, the hugs and the beers.

Nick says he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. “I was grinning from ear-to-ear and I couldn’t sleep that night thinking about it. It was the best round of my life.”

In his second year as a trainee golf pro, Nick says he’s been spending plenty of time doing book work for his course, meaning he has spent less time on the greens.

“I think that’s what made it such a shock, it’s not like I’ve been playing a lot, it just came out of the blue.”

The former Nelson College student says he was “striping” the ball all day but also had his share of luck. “The kicks were going my way and when I chipped in for an eagle on a par 5 I knew it was my day. Everything was going right.”

That was until the final hole, the club’s 9th but Nick’s 18th that day after starting on the 10th hole with three others. “That final chip, I thought I go for the hole because if I got it, it would have been a new course record to myself. I had been aggressive all day and didn’t want to die wondering, so went for it. It was probably a bit silly but I was rapt to sink that last putt.”

Nick says it’s natural for golfers to be “greedy” and he did think of dropped shots elsewhere on the course. “But then I thought that I had so many go my way that I couldn’t really do that to myself. I played really well and equalled the course record, I have to be happy with that.”

As for his next challenge, Nick says he still has another 18 months of study and then he will reassess where his golfing future lies.