They are the bees knees on the man-made Garden of Eden here but the first joint Hawke's Bay Young Golfer of the Year Award recipients' career pathways will forge in almost opposite directions.

Mako Thompson has embarked on a fulltime amateur golfing career in the hope of turning professional while Adam Winter intends to attend university in pursuit of graduating with a degree in agri-business when he finishes year 13 this year at Napier Boys' High School.

The teenagers received their awards from the Eagles Golfing Society of Hawke's Bay (Inc) at the annual fund-raising tournament at the Napier Golf Club on Thursday night.

Thompson, 18, a former NBHS pupil, and Winter, 17, recognise the society and its national body's drive to tee up youngsters who show promise and are indebted to the organisations for helping them during pivotal stages of their lives.


The Bay branch, which keeps a low profile, raised $15,000 last Thursday which will go towards the Halberg Disability Sports Foundation although collectively the branches around the country have contributed more than $4 million over the years to the foundation.

The Maraenui Golf Club members, under the tutelage of professional Scott Overend, have etched their names on the awards alongside elite players such as professionals Doug Holloway, Pieter Zwart and Nick Gillespie as well as amateur Stuart Duff.

Thompson, a plus-one handicapper, will focus on carving a niche in the amateur ranks in New Zealand for three years before looking to the Asian Tour Q School to fulfil a professional dream.

"I don't want to rush into trying to turn pro without having a really good amateur experience at a high level," says the part-time construction worker who created history when he was crowned the national under-19 champion at the Hastings Golf Club a fortnight ago as the first from the province in a long time.

"It's all very good and well competing here in Hawke's Bay but the next step up is the national stage and if I can do that well then turning pro will be much easier."

Thompson felt the nerves coming through in the last few holes on the back nine at Bridge Pa at the nationals and it's a fix he feels he can feed off.

His flirtation with the game came at 10 at the Te Pohue Club where his father, the late Paul Thompson, was a member.

"I used to go around whacking the ball how ever, wherever I could just to get it in the hole."

A Napier Technical Old Boys seamer and rep cricketer, he found the mental gymnastics in golf more challenging.

"The challenge in it is different from day to day, I guess."

In his last year at Te Pohue, Thompson played against his solo-father, an eight handicapper, in the senior men's club championship and lost as a 12-year-old.

"I was five up with seven holes to play and he beat me on the last hole," he says with a grin of Paul, a back-to-back champion, who died from throat cancer in July last year.

"I obviously didn't like losing but we both definitely celebrated that day."

The 2017 Maraenui Open champion intends to return to the club some day to win the club champs to have his name on the board with his father who raised him, and elder brothers Marama, 27, a Napier City Rovers soccer player, and Morehu, 26.

Thompson drew a golf template when he billeted NZ junior amateur reps Inia Logan, of Otago, Jordan Woodall, of Waikato, and Dominic Brett-Kelly, of Canterbury, one day.

"They are really good guys and good golfers so I played with them that week and did well."

He attributes his success to a great Bay network whose support makes training feel worthwhile.

Winter was born in Wellington but moved to the Bay with parents Jenny and Simon Winter, a tennis coach, when he was in year 3.

It was his father and maternal grandfather Jim Scutter, of Napier, who got him keen on golf when Winter was 4.

It was a lesser code when juxtaposed with cricket, soccer and tennis in year 9 but the school offered more opportunities through golf.

"I'm okay, nothing special," he says of his father's sport.

The winner of the annual Kapi Tareha 54-hole strokeplay tourney champion this year at Napier club, Winter had runner-up Thompson as teammate last year in the NBHS team who finished sixth at the high schools' nationals.

The one handicapper credits his Havelock North Intermediate years of grooming to former Maraenui pro Jeremy Carlsen who has returned to Switzerland. Former Bay pro Duane Todd helped before Overend took over in 2015.

Winter was 14 when he whittled his handicap down to single-digit figures.

"It's a great honour to have the award because we both had wins this year rather than before then," says the 2017 Waipawa 72-hole open matchplay winner.

The Kapi Tareha victory gave him a great sense of self-belief and the award reinforced that.

Adept at driving and taming fairways, Winter is eager to sharpen his short play because that's where he believes the game is won and lost.

The Bay senior men's rep has surfed the United States scholarship system and didn't find it that appealing.

Winter will play while pursuing a degree at either Massey University in Palmerston North or Waikato University but feels he will be more motivated to give golf a serious crack after graduating.

His grandfather and parents are really excited with his accomplishments and have been a pillar of strength.