The November MYGolf Centre of the Month, Orbost Golf Club, is located in Victoria, about 4 hours east of Melbourne, and situated on the Snowy River. Although a relatively new MYGolf Centre, Orbost already has 70 participants registered for their program and are a great example of how a club can connect with local schools to boost their junior numbers. In an attempt to not only attract more juniors to the club, but also raise the image of golf in the community, Orbost decided to conduct the MYGolf program. It was decided that their recruitment would commence in October as it would allow them to take advantage of the better weather, daylight saving and the summer period. In conjunction with Golf Victoria, recruitment clinics were run at local schools during October. Club members were present at each clinic so the children could familiarise themselves with the people who would be running the program at a club level. This was also beneficial for the club members as it gave them the opportunity to learn more about MYGolf as well as becoming aware of how to conduct a session safely. In all, 10 clinics were run at five different schools giving a total of 193 years two to eight students the chance to experience golf. The club utilised the local paper, Snowy River Mail, to inform the community of the school activities as well as provide program information and club contact details. A sign on day was then held at Orbost on the 16th October where interested students could come to the club and join the MYGolf program. The club had an overwhelming response and 70 students became MYGolfers that day. Upon registration, each new participant received not only their entry into MYGolf, but an Orbost Golf Club shirt and cap, six week coaching clinic, a six month season of golf pass which allows them to play free of green fees, the ability to bring an adult to play with them free of charge during the six month period and access to a barbeque to wind up the program. All of this was offered for only twenty dollars. Orbost Golf Club Treasurer, Bill Phillips, said they wanted to give as much as possible back to the kids. Our community is economically challenged, so we went out of our way to run the program as cheaply as possible. Our club set aside money in the budget for this initiative. Phillips said. Of course, there was no point having all these junior members if there was no one at the club who could teach them. Members were approached to find out who would be willing to assist and Andrew Phillips now coordinates the instruction program and has a pool of seven other members that he can call upon to assist him. Professional Scott Mansfield, from Lakes Entrance, has also come across to assist with the tuition and they have a number of low handicappers who take the secondary school aged children out on course to begin playing the game. Each of the six MYGolf areas are covered at the clinics with the participants rotating through them every 2 weeks with the assisting members staying with their chosen activity. The MYGolf program is tremendous. The range of activities and games are great and the kids love them. Phillips said. Orbost plans to have the juniors out on course playing shortened holes by the end of the six week period. To ensure the juniors stay with the club at the end of the program, memberships options will be provided for them and their parents and junior competition will be run weekly on a shortened course. Despite only being early days, signs are good for the long term stability of not only the program, but the club itself. Orbost are hopeful that the introduction of the junior program will result some life returning to the club and more people out on course. They plan to continue marketing the program through the promotion of a season of golf from October to March where they can make use of the better weather and ensure they are not competing with the local football and netball clubs. We hope to run the program over the next few years and the community response has been outstanding. Phillips said. Congratulations to Orbost Golf Club on receiving the November MYGolf Centre of the Month award!
Author: Sarah Kennedy / Golf Australia