Date: January 23, 2012

Ballina takes January Centre of the Month honours!

Ballina Golf and Sports Club is a regional Club located in Northern NSW. They currently have 53 participants registered in the program which runs every week. The following questions have been answered by their Chief Executive Officer, Steve Middleton, in conjunction with the Junior Committee. Why do you run a junior program? The Club has always run a Junior Program but has found it difficult to find and keep volunteers and parents to assist with the running of the program. It was decided in late 2010 that we needed to expand our current program and to foster the development of cadets and juniors, and for our golfing future and sustainability. A Junior Development Program was established and passed by the Board of Directors, which incorporated the MYGolf Program at its core. Enthusiastic volunteers were easily sourced to help deliver the program because of the good structure provided by MYGolf. Who runs the program? The program is run by 4 Junior Coordinators, Paul Wilson, Audrey McCabe, Andrea Glavocih (our Women’s President) and myself, Steve Middleton (the Club CEO). We have valued input and assistance from our two Golf Professionals, Colin Edwards and Brad Saunders, who dedicate their time every week to provide tuition through clinics. With the enthusiasm, knowledge and experience of our team, the program continues to increase in popularity and is exceeding our expectations. How you have found the MYGolf program and the benefits? The MYGolf program provides an excellent structure for beginners and intermediate golfers. We conduct our Junior sessions on a weekly basis after school for about 1 hour. We use the session planner that was developed by PUMP Golf as a guide to what we will focus on each week. As each Junior develops, we take a small group aside to skills test them using the MYGolf structure. The MYGolf program provides an additional benefit to us as it is used for our competition grading to classify our cadets into 3, 5 or 9 hole players. Any tips and ideas you can give to run the program successfully? We use the MYGolf program a little differently but that is the beauty of the program it can adapt. It is a fact that kids hate tests but they love rewards. Here are a few of our tips for success: 1. Combine skills learning and testing, with competitions. In our program, we cater for kids of all abilities and ages, from 6 to 16 years old. We skill test them in the first instance and then assign them to 3, 5 or 9 hole players. With the MYGolf Program, we have found that 3 hole players are those of beginner status and would be under the Bronze levels 1 and when they are complete Level 2 across the program, we put them into the 5 hole category. When they reach Level 4 across the program, we put them into the 9 hole category; 2. Be organised this not only confirms to parents / guardians that the program is worthwhile, it also makes things a lot easier on the day; 3. Detail Everything whether it is what the program is or what the rules are with 3, 5 or 9 hole competition play or safety regulations, make sure it is all detailed and everyone knows the details; 4. Establish a consistent Handicap system for competition play. We use the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation guidelines for handicapping and we continually monitor the progress of the kids and combine this with the MYGolf skills testing; 5. Monthly Newsletter produce a monthly newsletter and make mention of achievements. Take photos and provide early and timely information. Email is good, but newsletters are a keep sake; 6. Dedicate an area in the Club for Juniors. We have a Junior Room where we post results on the whiteboard and put up information of upcoming events; 7. Be enthusiastic and join in kids love seeing how easy things can get as you develop your skills and they also love beating you!! 8. Include Special Days in your program we run a Monthly Medal Competition which includes a presentation of results for the month, a free sausage sizzle and drink, and prizes galore. We have other special days, such as Christmas, Easter, Parent / Child days and an Open Competition day for 3, 5, 9 and 18 hole players. Also explore a Pump Golf Day or a Junior Fundraising Day; 9. Approach the local schools and advise them of what is on offer in the program or what the Golf Club can offer; 10. Get the Golf Professionals Involved: Kids love to see top quality players show their skills. I remember as a kid when a top AFL player came to our school and kicked the ball a mile from then I wanted to be an AFL player. Golf is the same. Get a Professional to Roll a long putt or Rip a huge Drive or Blast a great sand shot, and the same result will occur; and most of all 11. Have fun and make sure the kids are having fun. Best of Luck and Get Involved