When champion golfer Adam Scott came within a whisker of winning the British Open last year, high school student Toby Cooper watched the agony from rural Coolatai in northern NSW.
Twelve months later, Scott was again in the reckoning at The Open, seizing the lead halfway through the final round at Muirfield. This time 19-year-old Toby was on the Gold Coast as Scott ultimately tied for third.
In the interim, Scott had gloriously captured the US Masters title earlier this year. He had also become an integral part of Toby Cooper’s life after Toby was awarded Griffith University’s 2013 Adam Scott Foundation Sports Business Scholarship.
Toby will start a degree in sport management at Griffith University in July 2014 after completing the first of three years at the PGA International Golf Institute on the Gold Coast.
“I will get one-on-one coaching, take part in group coaching sessions, and play a competition every Monday for three years,” Toby describes the PGA adventure ahead.
“It’s all very exciting to be doing this diploma in golf management this year and then starting at Griffith next year.”
It is a long way from Warialda in northern New South Wales where Toby started to play golf at the age of 13 on the town’s little 9-hole course. His talent took him to Brisbane and Sydney on occasion for school competitions, but he says most of his golfing experience was gained close to home.
At Moree Golf Club, about 80km from Warialda, he got to know the club’s professional Matt Maguire who encouraged Toby to check out the PGA International Golf Institute.
Working closely with Griffith University, the PGA International Golf Institute offers education through its combined curriculum of golf and business courses as well as practical golf skills to prepare for a career in the golf industry.
After he was accepted to the PGA IGI, Toby discovered the Griffith Business School Adam Scott Foundation Scholarship.
The Adam Scott Foundation was created to provide life opportunities for Australian children and youth and enhance life and career possibilities. The Foundation supports young people who have overcome adversity in their life, and are passionate about business and sport.
“My mum encouraged me to apply for the scholarship,” Toby says. “She thought it would be a great reward for my efforts at school.
“It’s also fantastic from an education point of view. There were 12 in my Year 12 class and I was disadvantaged because there were some subjects I could not study as a result of our low numbers. The scholarship now gives me a great opportunity to pursue the career I want to pursue.
“I always wanted to go to university and study sport management. It has been my passion all my life. I’ve been on numerous sporting committees in Warialda.
“With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games coming up, it’s a good time to be studying sport management.”
Toby puts his success down to the support of his mother and father, and he also thanked the Warialda community for backing him every step and shot of the way.
He follows hot on the heels of Griffith Business School students Anna Stanton and Melinda Bell who were joint recipients of the 2012 Adam Scott Foundation Scholarship.