Prospect pair Lily Caelli and Ryan Thomas chase golfing dreams

DRIVE: Prospect Vale Golfers Lily Caelli, 17, and Ryan Thomas, 16, are juggling study with the dreams of turning professional. Picture: Scott Gelston.
DRIVE: Prospect Vale Golfers Lily Caelli, 17, and Ryan Thomas, 16, are juggling study with the dreams of turning professional. Picture: Scott Gelston.

Prospect Vale Golf Club and the desire to improve unite teenage golfing prodigies Lily Caelli and Ryan Thomas.

Having both taken up the sport in their teens, the pair can be found on the Prospect course most days - pretty much whenever they’re not tied up with school or work.

Thomas has already cut his handicap from 36 to three-plus, made Australian junior development squads and been named captain of the state’s junior men’s team, but the 16-year-old insists he’s not finished there.

“I’m trying to turn professional, so you’ve got to put in the work and just come up here every day and practise and try and get better,” the Prospect High student said. 

“I love the sport so I’m out here every day, even if it’s raining I’ll go to the gym and try and work on something in any way to get better.

“I’m dedicated enough to do it every day and don’t really lose passion.”

Thomas’ practice partner is a year his senior but has 18 months less experience in the game, having first picked up a club in early 2015.

Also training under coach Bryce Gorham, Caelli has shaved 40 off her handicap to now play off five strokes and was recently named in the state senior women’s team for the first time.

But despite her success on the golf course, the 17-year-old Launceston College student said she was equally as focused on pursuing her studies.

“I’m hoping to have a gap year next year and I’ll be here every day, but I’m also just doing it because I want a break from school and then I’ll go to uni I reckon and work in between,” Caelli said.

“It’d be nice if I could turn pro - it’s possible but I need to focus on school as well.”

Best of all, the pair are also good friends and are only too happy to engage in a bit of banter come tournament day. 

“There’s not really any other junior girls so I’ve only got the boys.

“When we first started... we never used to speak to each other but now we’ve all become really good friends, its a nice and supportive little network we have up here.

“Even the people in the pro shop, we’re all like a little family.”