Darwin’s Skye Lampton is not letting the remoteness of her home city prevent her from reaching some lofty goals in the game.
Skye Lampton found golf purely by accident while living and working in America at age 19, yet she has now become the most successful Aboriginal female golfer in Northern Territory history. Five women have represented the NT at the Australian Amateur Championship in the past, but in January Lampton became the first Aboriginal to do so. It was only last November that the 27-year-old Dagoman, Wardaman and Gurindji woman first ventured outside the Territory to play golf, and in doing so she claimed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Championships in Perth. Now her competitive vision is set more broadly.
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What originally drew you to golf and who introduced you to the sport?
It was summer holidays, 2015. I was an au pair in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. My friend and I were driving around, bored and trying to find something to do. We saw a driving range, went in and the first ball I hit struck the 175-yard sign. I was hooked. I went back two to three times a day. I would take the kids I was looking after with me some days and was lucky enough to meet wonderful people at the range who gave me clubs, bags, a putter, and took me out on the course a few times. I just wanted to shoot the best score I possibly could, and I was determined to keep hitting those little signs out on the driving ranges.
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What do you love about golf?
I love that it has come so naturally. I come from a softball background, so having the ball stagnant on a tee is so much better than fearing for my life when the pitcher pitches a softball at your head! I also love the golf community; everyone has been so lovely and it’s always a great day at the golf club.
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What other sports do you play?
I played softball, touch footy and netball in my teen years. I played indoor volleyball in America for three years.
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Are there any other sporty members of your family?
Both sides of my family are very sporty, mainly AFL and rugby. Mum played a bit of softball and indoor cricket, while my dad was into baseball, rugby and I think tennis. My first cousins, Luke and Stevie, were my biggest influences growing up, as Stevie was/still is a badass fighter. I believe she competed at the top levels in judo, wrestling and at one point MMA (mixed martial arts). And Luke played pro rugby league for the Melbourne Storm, Parramatta and the Rabbitohs.
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Darwin Golf Club is your home club. How often are you able to play and what are you doing away from golf?
Yes, DGC is my home club. I play both Saturday and Sunday, every other Thursday (flexible work arrangement, so I have half a day) and on the other Thursdays I’ll play nine holes. I also practise for two to three hours Tuesday to Friday.
Outside golf, I’ll spend some time with family and friends, but I’m a hermit so I would rather sit at home either watching golf highlights or Netflix and read books all day. I really should pick up another hobby or two outside golf, but at this point I am quite obsessed with the sport.
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How did you find the Australian Amateur at St Michael’s and New South Wales golf clubs compared to golf in the Northern Territory?
Both courses were so tough compared to NT courses but, man, they were so lovely to play on. The fairways felt like carpet and so amazingly well kept, and the greens were immaculate. I really felt like I was a professional out there playing in such amazing conditions. I didn’t play the greatest, but I seriously loved every minute of it. Darwin is very flat, open and forgiving; St Michael’s and NSW golf courses were hilly, with blind tee shots, massive trees and bushes, lots of penalty areas and elevated greens. And goodness gracious, there were so many bunkers!
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You currently play off 3. What are your goals for this year and beyond?
I have a few goals this year:
• Travel down south every six to eight weeks to play on courses that are difficult just so I can become more accustomed to those conditions.
• Handicap to be scratch by June 30 and then plus-2 or plus-3 by December 31.
• Contribute or work with NT Golf in some capacity, mainly helping/introducing golf to young people and women.
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Have you had any formal lessons or training? Is it something you would be interested in doing in the future to reach your full potential?
My lessons started last July with Tony Albion and it would be a 30-minute lesson, mainly on accuracy, good contact and some golf psych. Then Kurt Watts became our new pro at DGC in December, and I had a couple of lessons with him. I do need more support and lessons to reach my full potential, but I also need to play more often and play on more difficult courses.
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Do you enjoy the travel aspect of golf, and do you have plans for more amateur tournaments across Australia this year?
I love the travel component of golf. Meeting new people and being able to experience Australia’s best golf courses is definitely the greatest experience. I plan on going down to Sydney quite frequently this year, just so I can become more acquainted with courses down south. But who knows, maybe I’ll try to get out and play some opens here and there. I’m looking forward to playing more golf, for sure.