Riding high after sweet chip shot
WHEN he was starting out in golf, Michael Baker used to sticky tape his clubs to the handle bars of his BMX and ride to his local golf course.
His early golfing skills were honed using just three golf clubs - a putter, driver and seven iron.
Plenty has changed since the days he pedalled 15 minutes to Tewantin Noosa Golf Club - the bike is no longer required, the course is different and Michael, who now calls Hervey Bay home, now has more clubs to hit with.
But one thing that will never change is his passion and commitment to the sport.
Michael, a junior at Hervey Bay Golf Club, is riding high at the moment after pulling off one of the most astonishing shots while playing in the Bundaberg Junior Classic.
Using a four iron, the 12-year-old nailed a 100m chip, which bounced off the edge of the green and made a beeline for the hole - not a bad shot for a seventh grader at Kawungan State School.
Michael was fortunate to see the ball go into the 16th hole. He knew the moment he hit it something special would happen.
"I was pretty sure (it would go close). It had the perfect height and bounced at the beginning of the green," he said.
"It was really amazing to see it rolling and rolling and drop into the hole."
It was a magical moment for the youngster, who celebrated the "best shot of his career" by fist pumping the air and high-fiving his playing partner.
Michael, who started swinging golf clubs when he was seven, now thinks he can produce something special every time he takes to the course.
"It boosts your confidence because that game wasn't my best, but I was still able to produce something brilliant," he said.
Someone who takes great joy finding new ways to improve his game, Michael's goal is to become a professional golfer, like his favourite player Tiger Woods.
Working with his coach Brian Carrigan, Michael, who developed a natural swing at an early age, is determined to drop his handicap from 34 to 20 in the next few months.
"I want to try and be the best I can be," he said. "I used to be really bad at putting, but I've got a lot better."
But if he keeps chipping them in from the fairways, Michael might not have any use for his putter.