Date: July 23, 2013
Author: Sarah Kennedy / Golf Australia

Cessnock named MYGolf Centre of the Month

Cessnock Junior Golf Foundation is the recipient of the July MYGolf Centre of the Month award. In October 2012, after almost five years of inactivity, the Cessnock Junior Golf Foundation was revived and took up residence at the newly built Jack Newton Stonebridge Golf Course in the Hunter Valley, NSW. The credit for resurrecting the junior foundation lies with four very passionate local residents; Amanda Crampton, Jamie Crampton, John Barrett and Lisa Barrett. Such is the success of the foundation; the team of people involved has now grown to include 12 additional qualified helpers. Jack Newton Junior Golf (JNJG) Territory Manager, Mark Ingrey, said the foundation really hit the ground running last year after engaging with JNJG and have set their goal at being the number one junior program in the Hunter. The team of John, Jamie, Amanda and Lisa are truly amazing, they have passion and vision which shows in their enjoyment of providing the weekly programs, Ingrey said. They make my job easy due to their total commitment from introducing juniors to golf, working with local schools, to developing skills, to encouraging growth and more importantly to providing Stonebridge Golf Club with a positive long-term future. Ingrey said. Through the MYGolf program each Sunday afternoon, the foundation has been able to attract 60 juniors to the club, more than half of which have signed on as members. Of those juniors directly involved in the MYGolf program, 35 have already achieved their bronze level with a further 20 continuing through to pass their silver level. A number of these juniors are now gearing up to contest the gold certificate of the program. The progress of the juniors has forced Cessnock to provide the next step for the participants who have completed their bronze and silver certificates. As a result, they have started a five hole competition with a modified handicap system which is dependent on the individual skills of the juniors. Centre Coordinator Amanda Crampton said the children are getting a lot of enjoyment from testing their skills out on course. All juniors involved are loving the on course interaction playing a stroke event. Also by playing this five hole event they are learning to score cards and get the feel of what it is like to play an actual event. Crampton said. Not only has the foundation established a solid program at the club, they have also been doing in school training days as well as some after school activities with the local schools. The response they have received from these clinics has been so overwhelming that they have had to add an additional Sunday afternoon timeslot into their weekly clinics. Getting children into the program is one thing, but keeping them engaged and involved in the program can often be the difficult part. To combat this, Cessnock in conjunction with Stonebridge, have introduced a special membership offer for their MYGolfers. If a junior passes their bronze certificate and continues to the silver, we will pay fifteen dollars towards their Stonebridge membership up until the end of September this year, Crampton said. The foundation is also starting their own nine hole competition on a Saturday where each group must contain one of the junior golfers. The juniors love the fact that they are able to play and be part of a competition, Crampton said. As the foundation is a non-profit organisation, to ensure the future success of the MYGolf program, Cessnock have run a number of fundraising events such as auctions, dinners and trivia nights as well as receiving support from local businesses through sponsorship and also from the Stonebridge veterans club. This fundraising has been so successful that it has not only helped support the foundation but recently enough was raised by the foundation that they offered to purchase some well needed course machinery for Stonebridge Golf Club as well. None of this work and subsequent success would have occurred if not for the hardworking volunteers who selflessly devote their time to develop junior golf in the region. The Cessnock Junior Golf Foundation is so successful due to the passionate helpers that attend each Sunday to give up their time to help these young junior progress through the ranks. We also encourage the parents to stay and help or even follow their children and be caddies when they play their five hole competition, Crampton said. Ingrey agrees and believes the community in general should be proud of the work being done. At the end of the day, the club, the members, the local community should stand up and applaud this group of people. Volunteers are extremely hard to come by, especially ones with so much passion for junior development and their club s future, Ingrey said. The media coverage the program has provided for Stonebridge Golf Club is outstanding and I m sure if you put a dollar value against that it would be in the thousands. The long-term benefits of having a strong junior program like this in place are vast and according to Ingrey clubs such as Stonebridge should be seeing these juniors as the next generation of members, board members, elite amateurs or even a future Adam Scott. Jack Newton Junior Golf hopes these key members at Stonebridge see this program as an answer to a positive long-term financial benefit and with more families visiting the club the opportunity to grow is limitless with some vision,” Ingrey said. Crampton and the team at Cessnock are certainly looking long-term and despite already achieving their goals for 2013, they are still hungry for growth and success. The juniors we have now are the future of our club and as long as we are a healthy and supported foundation we will continue to grow and pass all other goals we have set for ourselves to make sure these juniors have a future in golf at Stonebridge, Crampton said. Both Golf Australia and JNJG are incredibly pleased and excited by the work being done at Stonebridge by the foundation and believe they have plenty of valuable knowledge for other clubs looking at developing something similar. Jack Newton Junior Golf and in particular the Newcastle/Hunter region see Cessnock Junior Golf Foundation as a bench mark for vision and implementation of junior growth, Ingrey said. I would expect fellow clubs would be eager to discuss how they can do the same in their clubs.