The National Junior Golf Program – MYGolf – is nearing the signing of its 5000th participant – a fantastic achievement following the program’s launch in late 2011.
One recent success story is proving just how far and wide the MYGolf program has spread across Australia and the positive impacts for the sport and local communities the program can provide.
The Gove Country Golf Club, more than 1,000 kilometres east of Darwin, is affectionately referred to as Australia’s Top Golf Course due to its most northern (and remote) location.
The course is in Nhulunbuy, North East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
Without a resident club professional, much of this club’s success has been due to two volunteers who revived junior golf at Gove.
Golfers Alan Fanning and Mitchell Banks began with just three juniors attending a Sunday morning program and in a relatively short time it has grown to become the biggest MYGolf junior club in the Top End with 35 children from the local community involved in regular programs.
Club Captain Jason Lane took on the role of junior coach to continue the legacy of Fanning who moved to Darwin. Lane is supported by many volunteer parents that are committed to making golf fun and promoting it as a game for life that begins at the grass roots level.
This commitment includes many fundraising ventures that cover the costs of having access to regular PGA coaching and clinics in Gove. The next nearest golf club is Groote Eylandt, which is only accessible by plane, and Katherine Golf Club which is a 10 hour, 4-wheel drive trip accessible only in the dry season.
Despite these geographic challenges, the team at Gove continue to provide the learning opportunities for the program participants.
The golfing community at Gove might be remote, but they’re not alone in their great work in junior golf.
More and more facilities around Australia – in both metropolitan and regional areas – are signing up to become a registered MYGolf Centre and provide programs for local juniors to engage with golf.
In addition to the sense of achievement for the kids as they progress through the program, the evidence is proving that it promotes a positive sense of community and shapes these junior golfers as potential club members of the future.