Jun 19, 2023

Video captures golfing toddler getting a hole

What started as a regular trip to the park on Sunday, riding bikes and swinging toy golf clubs, turned into a day the Martin family say it'll never forget.

Sucking on a pacifier and his favourite club in hand, 15-month-old Walker Martin took a swing and hit the hole 10 metres away — no easy feat for a toddler who only recently learned how to walk.

The unexpected outcome led to cheers of excitement from Walker's mother and grandmother, who were with him on the St. Andrews Park putting green in North Vancouver.

"This was an exciting moment for him and for us because this was his first time on a putting green. And then, of course, that putt happened," said Walker's father, Nick Martin, adding the shot was just his third attempt that day.

Nick says Walker is attracted to the sport. In fact, it's a regular part of his daily routine.

"Around 7:30 a.m., you can usually expect to see his little head pop up in his crib and hear, 'Golf! Golf! Golf!'"

Nick says Walker and his toy golf clubs have been inseparable since he got them from his grandma Cathy last summer.

"There's no doubt he's officially hooked," he said, adding Walker practices daily by toddling around and swinging at any ball he can find.

Peter Shin, a golf instructor at the Vancouver Golf Academy, was astonished when he first heard of Walker's shot.

"From [10 metres] away is never easy, even as an adult," Shin said, adding adults have a lot more co-ordination.

He says it takes quite a bit of strength, skill, and luck for a toddler to get a hole-in-one from that distance.

Shin compares Walker's achievement to legendary golfer Tiger Woods, who started playing at a similar age.

"[At that age Tiger Woods] would probably have that same level of ability because he would be able to somehow generate strength.

"This is not something you can just teach, especially at that age. It's more innate, like a natural talent."

Nick says while he loves the comparison to Tiger Woods, it'll ultimately be Walker's decision to pursue any hobbies or sports.

"If he decides he wants to go fully into golf, though, we'll support him 100 per cent. Who knows, maybe he could make some Tiger magic happen!"

Shin says his academy teaches kids as young as four years but recommends the sport to all ages as a way to have fun outdoors and relieve stress.

"Golf can not only be a fun sport to play but a really good metaphor for how to live life," he said, adding it teaches players to find good in a bad situation.

For Nick, this is just the beginning of Walker's golf journey. He says they plan to get him into golf lessons as soon as he's old enough.

"I foresee a lot of golf rounds and a lot of family golf outings, and to be honest, I'm not mad about it," he said.

"With how excited he is to play, it won't be long before he's beating me on the course."

Arrthy Thayaparan is an associate producer at CBC Vancouver. She's interested in health, environment, and community stories. You can contact her at [email protected].

With files from Vincent Papequash