WATCHING Australian golfer Cameron Smith lift the Claret Jug at the home of golf – and knowing he was a part of the winning team – is something former Fraser Coast resident Nic Catterall will cherish forever.
Nic is a high-performance coach, specialising in strength and conditioning, musculoskeletal therapy and sports science for professional golfers on the PGA.
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The 2005 Fraser Coast Anglican College School Captain told Good News Fraser Coast being at the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland to watch one of his athletes win the 150th Open Championship was “nothing short of incredible.”
“Being part of Cam’s winning team was an awesome experience,” Nic said.
“He’s an extremely talented athlete with a lot of Aussie gumption.”
The 35-year-old said helping a golfer win a major title was definitely a feather in his cap.
“It’s always exciting being at the forefront of professional sport. When you get to this level of the game it’s hard to know exactly how much of an impact you’ve had until you start to see results [like this] – these guys are so talented that they could almost do it on their own.
“However, it’s the pursuit of those one per cent gains that can effectively dictate wins or losses, cuts made or missed. It’s exciting to know I was able to play a part, however small or large that might have been.”
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Nic said the atmosphere at St Andrews was something most golfing enthusiasts can only dream of.
Thousands of spectators lined the fairway watching the action.
They roared when the leading players produced powerful drives to put them in contention and they cheered when balls rolled perfectly onto the green.
But it was the silence when players crafted the most delicate of shots – that could potentially win them the title – that stood out the most for Nic.
“I still have to check and pinch myself, especially after moments like this,” Nick explained when discussing his work.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of sporting teams and athletes in my career. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do short of being a professional athlete myself.
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“I always said if I wasn’t going to be the athlete, I want to help them.”
But as a final year student at FCAC, Nic said he never believed he would one day stand alongside the winner of the 150th Open Championship.
He said kids from regional Australia can go out and achieve anything, as long as they’re willing to work hard.
“Coming from a regional Aussie town doesn’t mean you start at a disadvantage. If anything, I think it’s advantageous.
“You know who your neighbours are, you know the family who owns the local butcher shop or bakery.
“You come from a place where you’ve been given chances and opportunities to improve yourself and your community. It’s also important to have a forgiving community when things don’t work out.
“I don’t know if your always get that in a big city.”
Nic said his family and the Fraser Coast had given him opportunities to grow, be curious about what he wanted to do and provided him with the tools to get him where he is today.
“I’m not going to lie though, it’s taken a lot of hard work, many sleepless nights and perseverance to get to this point.”
Nic was involved as a therapist at a number of professional teams in Brisbane including the Broncos, Roar and Lions before finding golf.
“I didn’t believe golf was a ‘real sport’ at first, especially after working in contact sports. But professional golf coach Ian Triggs helped me see the complexities, perseverance and talent that golfers require to become great.
“I was blown away by their abilities and knew golf was a sport I could do a lot of good in.”
Nic then created a program that eventually saw him being head-hunted to join the PGA Tour in 2014.
He currently lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.
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