Bruno's Blog


Junior Golf Spotlight: Anita Uwadia PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

 

Q&A with Anita Uwadia


Certainly, there are many talented junior golfers throughout the world today, but

few have traveled the path of Anita Uwadia. Anita grew up in the rural town of Okoko,

Nigeria, where her bus ride to and from school each day was 3 hrs round trip. She

moved to the States three years ago at age 13 to pursue her dream of playing

competitive golf and education in America. Presently she attends the Hilton Head

Prep School and plays golf at the Junior Players Golf Academy (JPGA).


Photo courtesy of Golfers Africa magazine


LinksNation: You came to the U.S a few years ago from Okoko, Nigeria with the dream
to play golf and go to school, what were your first impressions after arriving in America?

Anita Uwadia: My first thought was “Whoa, America is so clean”. Coming from a third world country, trash on the roads was a normal sight. Clean roads were the first things I noticed strangely. Hilton head was different. The first question I asked my mum upon arriving on Hilton Head was “Mum, do people live here?”. I had never seen so many trees in the same place in my life. The trees covered up the houses so I thought my mum was about to abandon me in the woods. Anyway, I thought America was beautiful and I still do. I still cannot believe the amount of trees on the Island though. As a golfer, I noticed the amount of golf courses the Island had. In Nigeria, I played the same course every time because I had no other option. I couldn’t believe how many options I now had. I told my mum “I want to play that one, and that one, and that one, maybe that one… whoa thaaaaat one”. I was an excited 13 years old child.

LN: The Junior Players Golf Academy in Hilton Head is where you're based, what is a normal day for you?

AU: I wake up from 5:30 - 6 am. Get ready for school, take the bus at 6:45. School starts at 7:15. It’s early, but most days I’m excited to start school. School ends at 12:40. The bus leaves to go to the course at 1:15. I normally sleep on the bus. Golf starts at 1:40. I normally practice long game and short game for about an hour and a half, then I go play a couple holes on the course.
On Mondays and Thursdays, we do our own workouts but Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we have a workout instructor who takes us through what we call “boot camp”. I’m always tired after boot camp but I feel stronger. All our workouts are from 5-6. We have it at the office gym. After workouts, I eat the food my houseparent makes or some days, I go to other houses to eat if I like what they are having. I rest from 6:30 - 7:30 then I start my homework. I like to keep up with my school work but some days I’m so tired that I go straight to bed. Normally, I sleep at 11 pm. Then the next day repeats itself.

LN: You're known as the "African Queen" in Junior Golf circles ... can you explain the nickname?

AU: I don’t know where the name came from. I saw it for the first time in an article I read about me after the US Girls’ Junior tournament. I suppose it’s because I’m the first African or Nigerian to play in a USGA event. I’m not sure why I’m called that but I kind of like it.





LN: You've been quite successful lately (in tournament play), what has been your biggest win as a junior golfer?

AU: My most memorable tournament was in Kiawah Island. It was a two days event. After the first day, I was trailing by 3. I shot even (72) and the leader was 3 under par. The next day, I shot 5 under par and ended up winning by 4. The leader shot 2 over par. I was excited because the leader on the first day was Isi Nilsson. We have a good rivalry relationship. I was excited to beat her because she is also a good player. The win gave me a boost of confidence so whenever I’m playing a tournament, I think about the moment in Kiawah.

LN: Who is your swing instructor, and what part of your game are you working on?

AU: My main swing instructor is Clive McCann but I also go to RJ Schebel for help. We are working on a flatter backswing and a better sequence. I work mostly on my short game though because I feel that’s where my main weakness lies. I work with RJ and Clive also in short game. We are working on keeping a smooth swing under pressure since I tend to be fast in tournaments.

LN: You'll be attending the University of South Carolina next year on a golf scholarship, what are your long term goals with both your golf career and studies?

AU: I’m excited to be attending USC in a year. They have a great program and a great coach. I want to be the best player USC will ever sign. I want to come out of college with a degree in business. I want to be an entrepreneur and I also want to do something with Theatre. Maybe be an actress after golf, I’m not sure. My main goal though is to win the most LPGA majors and change Women’s Golf for the better. Not many people watch Women’s Golf and I hope I will be able to change that. I also want to improve golf in Nigeria. I want to give kids the opportunity to play golf. Set up tournaments and maybe build a better golf course that the society as a whole can benefit from. Good courses in Nigeria cost so much money to play but I sure know that mine will not be expensive.

LN: Is there an LPGA Player that you see as a role model and hope to one day emulate?

AU: I love Suzann Pettersen and Lexi Thompson, but I don’t look up to them as role models. I don’t know why I like them but I just do. I always have. I would like to dominate like Annika Sorenstam did but I don’t know much about her so I wouldn’t say I look up to her. Rory is my favorite golfer whether male or female. I love his confidence and his swing.
LN: What is your best memory on the golf course ... favorite course?

AU: My best memory is playing with my dad and his friends. I love how they joke when they hit a bad shot. It reminds me why I started playing golf: I love the feeling of just hitting balls whether good or bad. My dad and his friends are not the best golfers but they sure know how to enjoy themselves. I also love stopping at the little store on the 7th hole (rest hole) at my home course in Nigeria to grab snacks like meat pies and muffins with soda. My favorite course that I’ve played is Kiawah Island Ocean course. The scenery is magnificent. My dream course would be Augusta. The fairways are perfect and I would love to attempt putting on the greens.

 

Special Thanks to Greg Moser for his help in coordinating this Q&A.

 

 

 
New Golf Movie - THE SQUEEZE PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

On April 17th, a new golf movie called "THE SQUEEZE" will open in select theaters. Unlike many

golf films that have come before it, this flick doesn't follow suit with the typical weak storyline,

and actors that clearly have no clue on how to make a competent golf swing. Director Terry

Jastrow sought out actors who can actually play the game (and delivered with Jeremy Sumpter

who stars as "Augie" and plays to a 1 handicap in real life)

 

The Squeeze is based on a true story, it's a caper about a notorious gambler who discovers a

modest young man in a small rural town with extraordinary golf skills. Seeing his potential, the

gambler convinces him to abandon his dreams of winning the US Open and start playing in high

stakes matches. As they continue to win, the stakes grow higher and higher until the game

becomes life or death.


A few weeks back I watched an advanced screener of the film, and was both entertained and

impressed with the job done by Jastrow. THE SQUEEZE was both Written and directed by

Jastrow (who has been a network sports director for 20 British Open & 22 U.S Open telecasts),

he knows the game of golf as well as anyone in the broadcasting & entertainment industry.

 


 


 

Along with Sumpter, Chris McDonald also stars as "Riverboat" the gambling influence that

pulls "Augie" away from his dreams of legitimate competitive golf. The 95 minute film that

was shot on location in North Carolina and Las Vegas is rated PG-13 and will open in twelve

select cities on 4/17 (It will also be available to Video-On-Demand & itunes on 4/17).


Many of the games elite have also seen the movie before its release:


Jack Nicklaus: “I watched THE SQUEEZE with Barbara and really enjoyed it. It’s a fun movie

that tells an interesting story, and the golf elements are so real you actually believe it could

happen.”


Tom Watson: THE SQUEEZE depicts actors who are truly believable as pro quality golfers.

Director Jastrow’s true understanding of the game (with 22 years directing sports) injects

reality into the scenes with a stream of golf humor that golfers will find both familiar and

believable, which are sadly lacking in all previous golf movies.

 

The catalyst for the film is the character “Riverboat”, whose role is wonderfully played by

Christopher McDonald. His guile and salesmanship together make for an intriguing surprise

ending. THE SQUEEZE is indeed an enjoyable adventure into golf and big time gambling.”


Phil Mickelson: “THE SQUEEZE is a wonderful golf movie because it’s so authentic. It hooks

you in the beginning and stays interesting and entertaining right to the end. I’m looking forward

to seeing it again.”


 


For more info: theSqueezemovie.com





 

 






 
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