Date: March 12, 2014
Author: Stephen Pitt

From the CEO’s desk: March 2014

Last summer illustrated the impact our High Performance Program is having on Australian golf with Minjee Lee’s fantastic performances across multiple women’s tournaments culminating in her win at the Oates Victorian Open.

We also witnessed rookie pro Nathan Holman’s display at the Talisker Masters and Emirates Australian Open and the headlines for rising star Ryan Ruffels and U.S Amateur runner-up OIiver Goss.

Inevitably Adam Scott’s victory at Augusta National nearly a year ago also had media and golf fans around the country asking who was coming next. Who is the next big talent coming through the ranks? Where will Australia’s next Major champion come from in years and even decades to come? Who will follow in Adam’s footsteps?

Sometimes we’re also asked how the elite amateurs and rookie professionals that we work with, will contribute to the overall growth in Australian golf.  The answer to this in part explains why we invest into high performance golf.

Having Major or Olympic champions and highly successful international players has a long term impact on Australian golf and we have seen that very clearly in years gone by. Roles models on golf have a important and measureable impact on the overall health of the game.  Apart from what they do in terms of driving grassroots participation, success Australian players also drive sponsorship, government funding and wider investment opportunities.

Although the link may not always seem that obvious, high performance, in the sport of golf at least, is an good investment back into the growth of the sport.  We are fortunate that most of the investment that is made comes via government, corporate and private support rather than Golf Australia’s general revenue.

The junior player inspired by Adam Scott or Karrie Webb makes a journey from the very earliest starting points – through local clubs and communities – through to state, national and international levels if they choose to do so.

All these stepping stones play an important role in shaping our young players’ futures and the path begins with initial participation in the game.

The process of long-term development now begins at a much younger age to ensure players are better exposed to the skills and resources needed to not only be a professional golfer but to have success at the national and international professional level.

Few of these results occur overnight and of all the players who go through our program, some will succeed on the world stage and some will not. We certainly work with them all to help achieve their goals as golfers and as people.

By doing this, we are putting the building blocks in place now so that we have Australian male and female golfers to cheer on in the future and so we can identify, develop and support our emerging talent.

As last summer in particular proved, the results of this program directly contribute to the future exposure, growth and success of Australian golf on many levels.