By Alistair Hogg A key to generating a nation full of so many promising, young golfers is a grass-roots program that fosters and encourages children as they learn to love the game. State associations and foundations around Australia have sought to do this for years but until now, each had predominantly been working independently of each other, which had made it difficult to adopt a uniformed approach to junior golf. Different ideas, approaches and methods invariably stalled the development of tomorrow&aposs stars. Recently, Golf Australia stepped in to unite golfing associations around the country in order to give our kids the best chance to learn, love and live the sport. The new Junior Framework will see children exposed to golf through programs introduced at primary school level. Game and Club Development Manager at Golf Australia, Nick Green stressed the importance of getting kids into the sport at a young age. “Most of our strategic plan here is increasing participation in golf and one of our big target markets is juniors.” “Research has shown that by the time a child is 10 years old they have developed habits they will keep for the rest of their life.” “If we can get them to enjoy golf and make golf a part of their life from a young age they will be more likely to continue playing as they grow up.” Junior golf participation rates have remained steady over the last couple of years and it is hoped the new framework will help influence more kids to pick up a set of clubs. Green continued, “Golf Australia is trying to create sustained attention as we want people to appreciate and come back to the game later in life. We have to make golf exciting for kids and something that is fun and rewarding.” Part of creating sustained attention is tapping in to golf clubs located close to schools. In conjunction with school programs, clubs can present children with the opportunity to take their interest to the next level. “They can be pathways of entry to the sport,” said Green. “And people need to recognise that for junior golf to be a success, the same approach needs to be adopted Australia-wide.” As well as making the sport fun and engaging for juniors, Golf Australia is also seeking to appeal to those who are a little more serious about it. Under the Junior Framework there will be opportunities for talented youngsters to learn the rules, improve their technique, train and enter competitions as they strive to refine their game. Golf Australia is equally committed to giving potential stars of tomorrow the best chance to succeed as it is to those who simply love to get out there and have a hit. “We want to give aspiring golfers a chance through education, mentoring, travel and opportunities for competition to expose them to the competitive side of the sport,” Green said. “But at the same time we also have to look after the family orientation and social side of golf.” For more information on Go-Go Golf or the Junior Framework as a whole, click here.
Author: Alistair Hogg