Smith heads to Florida academy
Local pro Camiko Smith plans to broaden his horizons at the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando, Florida.
The Bermudian intends to spend as many as six months sharpening his skills at the academy where his technique will come under the scrutiny of certified coaches.
“I will be working hard on improving my game, so it’s going to be tons of short game/putting practice and getting into the gym,” Smith said. “The reason for training abroad is to get the exposure of being a world class player and also to grow as a person and experience life away from home. Being from a small island you don’t really get to experience that.
“The late Eardley Jones always told me that if I ever have the chance to get out of the country, take it. He was a great inspiration to me personally and as a young golfer. All of the local golfers have been a big support for me.”
Smith’s ultimate goal is to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport — the PGA Tour.
“My goal is to compete at a high level and to get status on the PGA Tour which with hard work and dedication I believe can achieve,” he said. “It’s been my dream since I was young to play on the PGA Tour, I’m going after it.”
Making it to the top of world golf’s pecking order is no easy feat, something Smith is well aware of.
“One of the main challenges is that you have a lot of guys gunning for the same goal,” he said. “So you really have to stay focused and committed.”
At this stage of his career, Smith believes he is headed down the right path.
“It’s taken a while for it to happen, but yes I do feel confident that it’s heading in the right direction,” he said.
During his stay in the US Smith plans to play on mini tours to “keep his game sharp” and also bid to qualify for the Web.com Tour (world golf’s second tier) where compatriot Michael Sims has exemptions to play this year.
“At this moment there are no big tournaments scheduled,” he said. “But I will be playing a few mini tour events to keep my game sharp and will be giving the Web.com qualifying school a go in October.”
Smith has dug deep into his own pocket to cover costs to remain in the US for several months.
“I’m doing this out of my own funds so I have no other financial backing,” he said.
Recent months have seen Smith offer glimpses of his potential.
He finished runner up to Phil Eich playing in only his second tournament on the Foretheplayersgolf.com Tour in Florida. Smith finished second after losing to Eich in a playoff at the par 72 Falcons Fire Golf Club.
The local pro also carded a hole in one at the Gosling’s Dark n Stormy Invitational at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and finished second among the local pros behind Port Royal stablemate Dwayne Pearman at the Bacardi Par 3 World Championship at Turtle Hill Golf Club.
Last week saw Smith come up short in his bid to qualify for this year’s US Open at a local qualifying event held at the 7,243-yard Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
He carded a one-over-par 73 that left him four strokes shy of making the cut and advancing to the next phase of US Open qualifiers.
Smith admits failing to qualify for next month’s major at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania was a let down.
“It was a little disappointing as my goal was to qualify,” he said. “I hit the ball well and gave myself chances, I just wasn’t able to make the putts. But I felt good with my game.”