Driving in a new direction
Golf takes backseat as Cheycoda packs bags for university
Masterton’s top young female golfer, Cheycoda Cocks, is set to put the sport on the backburner for a little while as she heads to university this year, but hopes her achievements thus far will inspire more young people to hit the fairways.
The talented 18-year-old has carved an impressive record since taking up the sport when she was 14.
She has been crowned Mahunga Golf Club women’s champion for the past three years, won the Wairarapa College Falloon Cup from 2016-2018 and was the 2016 Wairarapa Junior Golfing Society’s winner.
Cocks, who has been golfing for around four years, said that there are only around three juniors playing golf in Wairarapa, a number she believes should be higher.
“I play with a lot of older people which is good because you get different life experiences from them and you learn a lot.
“But I really want to encourage more youth to get into it – golf has taught me a lot about etiquette, being courteous and perseverance, and it’s just a fun game overall.”
Golf runs in her family and she said the main reason she picked up the clubs in the first place was because her parents were both avid golfers.
For the past three years, Cocks has trained up to twice weekly at Mahunga Golf Club and at Masterton Golf Club, where she has received coaching under professional Joel Macklin.
Cocks said that golfing had presented her with plenty of opportunities to meet new people and travel the country.
She has played for the Wairarapa women’s team, the Wellington junior development team and the Wellington Under-19 junior girls’ team, which won the national interprovincials in Rotorua in 2017 – a highlight of Cocks’ career so far.
“It was pretty cool. I’d never played out of the region before and I was quite nervous at being at my first team event.”
Cocks sank a 15-foot birdie putt in the final round to send it to a sudden-death play-off, which Wellington won.
Last year, Cocks returned for the side, this time taking up the team captain’s role, and the side reached the final where they lost to North Harbour.
However, Cocks will be putting a slight handbrake on golfing this year as she attends Massey University in Palmerston North to study a degree in sport and exercise.
“My real focus will be university and I’m not sure I’ll golf a lot this year. I’m really keen to just get out there and try new things in my first year.
“I’ll probably still play a couple of tournaments and I’ll try for the Wellington Under-19s in October.”
Cocks said the degree would act as a backup for her ultimate goal of becoming a police officer.
“Everyone has told me it’s a good idea to have another qualification to help you out.”
Cocks was named Secondary Schools Sportswoman of the year for 2017 at the Wairarapa Maori Sports Awards and was also a top-four finalist in the same category at the 2017 and 2018 Wairarapa Secondary School Sports Awards.
The former Wairarapa College pupil said that she wouldn’t be where she was without her golfing.
“It’s a really tight-knit group, all the golfers are really supportive. I’m definitely not going to give up completely.
“It’s always something I can come back to and I probably will once I’ve been at university for a while. I just hope other young people can have the same experiences that I have.”