Written by Sharon Nott – JNJG Country Development officer From a phone call back in July asking Jack Newton Junior Golf Country Development Officer, Sharon Nott- Do you think l am mad if l ask what would be the possibility of getting some juniors from our Forbes Junior Program to The Lakes Golf Club for the Aussie Open in November a snow ball effect has resulted. Country Junior Golf was the first to put up their hand to assist these keen kids to get down to Sydney for a truly Golfing Spectacular . Juniors ranging in age 7-16yrs, will get the opportunity to meet and brush shoulders with many of the high profile golfing professionals both from Australia and Internationally. Coordinated by Sharon Nott, Juniors will be coming from Forbes, Bourke, Coonamble, Cumnock, Cowra, Warren, Mudgee and Henbury. Arriving Thursday night the juniors will get a game at Eastlakes on the Friday as part of Golf Australia s Junior Tournament before heading out to The Lakes for a Coaching Clinic with Bubba Watson and Geoff Ogilvy. Saturday morning will be a Coaching Clinic with Country Junior Golf Touring Professional-Eddie Emerson and JNJG Head Coach, Khan Pullen at Cullen s Golf Driving Range at St Michael s before heading out to The Lakes and being one on the many golfing spectators. Due to the distances having to be travelled the juniors will head back on the Sunday so they can be ready for school on Monday and no doubt be telling plenty of stories. The group itself has plenty of stories to tell even before we get to the Aussie Open. We have a young boy from Bourke who 7 years ago received a heart transplant. Now 15yrs, James has fallen in love with the game and jumped at the opportunity to make the 10+hr trip to Sydney. James parents unfortunately are not able to come as his mother is currently receiving chemotherapy a family that is taking one day at a time and staying so positive – appreciative of special experiences that come along. With Country Golf Clubs struggling, Forbes Junior Coordinator, Anthony Gordon and his team has been able to get juniors really moving at a club with no golf professional and the closest being 2hrs away. Since signing up as a Golf Australia MYGOLF Centre back in August they have put 30 juniors through the 8 wk Bronze Program, have close to 100 kids having attended their school holiday 2 day camps (and joined as junior members), had 13 members undertake the Community Golf Coaches Course and they have been right behind the push for golf into the local schools with Teacher Training Days . Forbes, with a population of around 8000 is located in the Lachlan Valley and the 6hr+ trip to Sydney by vehicle has not daunted 13 juniors (+ Parents/Community Coaches) coming down and being part of the Country Junior Golf Aussie Open group. Wade White, a High School Woodwork Teacher at Coonamble put his hand up to bring 4 junior boys – 2 of whom are indigenous – down from Coonamble. The Lakes Golf Course will certainly be a contrast to their sand green layout and they will not have to worry about burrs getting into their socks and fingers, the flies and the 40+ temperatures. Sharon Nott, who also assists at Mudgee Golf Club and Henbury Golf Club with their Junior Program has seen Mudgee Junior Golf develop over the last 5 years with over 150 juniors being given the opportunity to learn and develop their golfing skills. With new Golf Professional, Peter Mayson, Mudgee has registered as a MYGOLF Centre, has a 3 tier Junior Program and is very active with encouraging older juniors to be mentors and Community Coaches to assist with the younger juniors. Golf is not only about playing the game it is being part of a team that works together for the development of everyone involved. Mudgee and Henbury have been able to have junior programs from the age of 5yrs because of the support of parents, members and juniors themselves. The 8 juniors coming down from Mudgee and Kandos have all given their time back to assist junior programs run at their clubs which is very encouraging for the future of golf in the area and l am sure like many of the golfing professionals they get a buzz by a young kids smile of thanks . So watch out Sydney next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Big name golfing professionals will be in town but there will also be 27 juniors from the bush who will be equally excited about walking the fairways of The Lakes and being part of the 2011 Aussie Open. As the full moon rises over Botany Bay you can rest assured that there will be plenty of banter going on at The Grand Pines Tourist Park at Ramsgate, not much sleeping and plenty of dreaming for these young junior golfers.