Mon, Jun 17, 2024 10:30 AM

Lily Swings to Success


Jack Malcolm

Lily Broadbridge's road to being one of the top local junior golfers isn't without struggle.

The 14-year-old has overcome trials and tribulations to become a well-rounded young woman and golfer.

When she was days away from turning two years old, Lily's mother, Farrah passed away from breast cancer.

Without her father in the picture, Lily's grandparents, Topia and Tui Jacqueline Morehu, were left to raise her themselves.

Shortly after, Lily was operated on for her hearing and did two years of speech therapy at a clinic in Perth, where the family were living at the time.

When she was five years old, Lily was diagnosed with ADHD, which resulted in discipline at school which saw her home schooled for three years until the family moved back to New Zealand.

As an ordained minister, it was during Lily's homeschooling when Topia asked the Lord if she would have talent at golf, with Nan and Koro being ex-golfers themselves.

"The Spirit of the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, 'if you are willing to pay the price, she will become a champion golfer'.

"I received that word from the Lord and started teaching Lily in our backyard."

Lily says the favourite club in her bag is the one she uses most, her putter. Photo: Jack Malcolm.

Lily soon outgrew the net they had set up, hitting balls into their neighbor's property, and she needed some professional coaching.

Mounting costs, combined with the need for new clubs and memberships, meant Topia had to ask his community for donations.

When Covid-19 hit the headlines, they moved back to Nelson to be closer to family, and Lily joined both Green Acres and Nelson Golf Clubs.

Having started her golfing career with a 42 handicap, she had shrunk it to 25 by the time she moved to Nelson and has since improved to sit on a 15.

That progression has seen her in the mix at a wealth of local tournaments, with help from local coaches Eve Clarke and Matthew Grimes.

Lily, Topia and Tui often play together. But haven't recently after Topia was diagnosed with cancer and had open heart surgery earlier this year.

The two grandparents and guardians are still often out of the course with Lily, saying they just enjoy being out there and watching her play.

As for Lily, she says her favourite part of the game is "everything".

"I don't not like anything.

"My highlight was nearly getting a hole-in-one on #3 [at Nelson]. I used a little wood, a five wood, that hit the pin."

She says her goal is to one day be a professional golfer and she's currently working to improve her short game.

"My favourite club is my putter."

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