Located three hours north of Melbourne, the Wodonga Golf Club is steadily building their junior program and with 28 new participants signing on this month, they are more than worthy recipients of the October MYGolf Centre of the Month award. Run by PGA Professional Michael Skinner, Wodonga s junior program aims to give local children the opportunity to learn the game of golf in a fun and interactive environment alongside other juniors. Wodonga recognises it is important for the future of the golf club to have a solid base of juniors and also understands the benefits of engaging their parents at the same time. Attracting juniors also means attracting their parents to the golf club which can lead to increased pareticipation from them or even new members, Skinner said. Skinner believes that by giving the children an opportunity to get involved in the club and learn the game on a consistent basis, local golf clubs can be competitive with other junior sports programs. I think it is important to offer a similar opportunity to learn the game that juniors get from Auskick or Milo cricket, Skinner said. Wodonga and Skinner are doing just that by running clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the school term as well as offering camps during the school holidays. With the assistance of the MYGolf resources, Wodonga now has a complete step by step plan for recruiting and training junior golfers that also give them the opportunity to see progress through the bronze, silver and gold levels that are offered through the program. Skinner has also experienced the benefits of using the MYGolf Schools 1 resource when conducting clinics at the local schools as it offers a five week program that is specifically designed to be delivered in a school environment. I have also found the MYGolf Kit very helpful in allowing me to conduct these clinics on school grounds, Skinner said. The use of soft balls and mats is extremely helpful as some schools only have small spaces or hard surfaces to conduct the clinics. When it comes to giving advice for other clubs looking to implement or boost their junior program, Skinner is very open and forthcoming and believes that following the MYGolf program, doing plenty of planning and conducting clinics at the local school are important. Many kids at the schools hadn t tried golf so it was a great way to reach a large audience, Skinner said. Most importantly, the program needs to be consistent to reach juniors. Offering weekly clinics and school holiday camps are a great way to keep the juniors engaged .
Author: Sarah Kennedy / Golf Australia