Date: April 23, 2014
Author: Sarah Kennedy / Golf Australia

Smithton lead the way for Tasmania.

Located on Tasmania’s far north-west coast, Smithton Country Club has been involved in the MYGolf program since late 2013 and is the first Tasmanian Club to receive a MYGolf Centre of the Month award.

Whilst recognising that juniors are the future of the club, Smithton experienced difficulties trying to attract, engage and retain junior golfers especially as they did not have a structured program in place and had to compete with other sports and clubs who did.

Realising that they needed to proactively try to attract and support junior participation was just the first step. During a visit by Golf Tasmania’s Peter Webster, Smithton were first introduced to the MYGolf program and according to Centre Coordinator Brett Fowler the program was a perfect match for the club particularly as they do not have a full time golf professional.

“The program can be run by anyone with a general knowledge of golf and most importantly with a passion for teaching kids,” Fowler said.

After receiving a tremendous response to their trial program in October of last year, Smithon have now been running the MYGolf program every Tuesday afternoon since and have a nice core group of 12 participants.

Once a junior member at the club, Fowler now introduces the game to the next generation along with Zak Rollins who is the professional at Seabrook Golf Club and enjoys the fact that everything from the equipment to the skills challenges and reward system is fully set out for them.

The kids involved in Smithton’s program are responding well to the challenges and games and really enjoying taking part in sessions, particularly when they get to go out onto the course.

“The kids love practicing the drills and recognise why we practice certain skills and see the importance of this when playing out on the course,” Fowler said.

“Our main goal for the program is to make golf fun for the kids whilst teaching them valuable knowledge and skills that’s essential to improve and enjoy their golf”.

One tip that Fowler has for other MYGolf Centres is to ensure that fun is the most important aspect of the program.

“Kids will soon let you know if they are bored, so find fun ways to demonstrate or teach and be sure to reward and encourage,” Fowler said.

Smithton has also found using parents or other golf members to assist with lesson extremely beneficial to their program.

“If you can have at least one adult for every four kids, it makes it a great deal easier to conduct the lesson and make full use of the time you have with the kids,” Fowler said.