Bush to City’ Golf Camp 2014 Report – 5-9th January 2014
Now in its ninth year the Bush to City golf camp gives the opportunity for country juniors in the Western area of NSW to be invited to come to Sydney and experience professional golf coaching, game play on city golf courses as well as squeezing in some city sightseeing.
The camp was a little different this year. Three juniors, who are all in foster care and just starting out on their golfing pathways, travelled with former JNJG Territory Manager Sharon Nott by car from Dunedoo. The team consisted of 13 year old Sean Kerr from Dunedoo and 15 year olds Daniel Green and Danielle Kaperonis from Neilrex and members of Binnaway Golf Club. Country Junior Golf Head Professional Eddie Emerson organised the coaching and game play whilst we were in Sydney, as well as a number of surprises for the kids.
Hitting the road at 9am on Sunday we took a break at Lithgow Golf Club and played a quick four holes. The girls lost so we were on washing up duties that night!!
Hassan Walls was a nice picnic lunch break and we had a few stops over the mountains as we checked out Evans Lookout, Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters, although we reckon its three and a half sisters.
When in Sydney we were fortunate to have the use of a house at Ramsgate which meant some early morning swims and running in and along Botany Bay each day.
St. Michael's Golf Driving Range is where we did most of our coaching, and anyone who knows Eddie will know he has an endless list of contacts. He arranged for the kids to meet former JNJG Junior from Narrabri, Matt Steiger, who was getting ready to head over and do the Asian Professional circuit. Matt hit a few demonstration shots as well as giving a helpful talk to our aspiring junior golfers.
Teaching Professional Robbie Curtis at St. Michael’s took time to go through chipping and bunker work. Woo Kim, who has been on the PGA Tour for the past ten years as well as the mini USA Tour, also took time out to spend an hour with the juniors on the range.
We stopped in at Hudson Park on the way back on Thursday for a final coaching session at the driving range and putting green.
The weather played a factor with our golf games but we managed nine holes at Bondi, which was very scenic and two half rounds at St. Michael’s Golf Club. The kids really appreciated the grass greens and the lush fairways. It was a massive contrast to the very dry course at Binnaway at the moment which is in drought conditions, and the sand greens that are at both Dunedoo and Binnaway.
<image="2" align="left" />
Although golf was supposed to be the highlight of the week, l am afraid a Fire Truck ride in a 1938 Dennis seemed to be what the kids were talking about the most. Imagine three kids and two adults sitting on either side of the beautifully restored truck tooting a ’rrrr rrrrr’ horn as we travelled along South Head Road in the heart of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs (Vaucluse, Rose Bay, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Milson Point) waving to everyone on a one and a half hour ride, and having three police cars following us at one stage. You realise it was a once in a life time experience…thanks heaps Anthony Cox who not only is a keen golfer at Royal Sydney but has a passion for restoring vehicles.
We had a full week of golf, adventures and meeting people. A visit to The Royal National Park saw us canoeing and swimming up the Hacking River. We had a Green Tree Snake check us out which had Danielle screaming all the way back to Neilrex, just as well the rest of us stayed calm!!!
JNJG CEO Peter Van Wegen took time to come out and meet the kids at St. Michael’s and found out all the things we had been up to, as well as listening to what the kids have been doing and planning to do at school.
TAFE Fitness Instructor Brad Marshall met us at St. Michael’s for an evening fitness session. Daniel is now going to put into place a workout session for the 50 residents at Neilrex.
I lost the kids in the Powerhouse museum (they would have spent all day there if we had time). The Beatles mania on display when they visited Sydney in 1964 was rather scary, l just hope my mum wasn’t one of the screaming fans!!
The playground at Darling Harbour with the ‘Spider Web’ filled in time as the team scrambled up to the top…l took their word of the great views.
Eddie organised surprise tickets to an evening session of Circus Oz, which was showing at Darling Harbour. We soon realised that our golf flexibility training will need a lot more work.
We also took the kids to the Golf Museum on our way home on Thursday with curator Tommy Moore going through the equipment and how technology has changed golf clubs, golf balls, golf shoes and attire. It was certainly a walk down memory lane.
<image="3" align="left" />
<image="4" align="left" />
"Thank you for all the wonderful things we did while we were down here" is what the kids wrote in our Reflections Book. A lot of people made things happen and the support from Country Junior Golf and JNJG made the camp possible.
Life is about opportunities and experiences and for three kids from the bush they shared a great five days that will be with them forever. Their freshness and enthusiasm, l am sure, left a mark on all the people they met, even the ones we waved to during our fire truck ride.
A special thanks to St. Michael’s Golf Club for allowing us to use their great facilities and thanks Eddie, for your continual support of country junior golfers. I am sure that the kids will be a lot more focused with their approach to golf and developing their own golf game.
l am also sure that Sean, Danielle and Daniel will be encouraging other kids in their towns to take the game up on a more serious level. It certainly is a game that can be played by all!
For information on how to run a "Bush to City " Camp visit: www.jnjg.com.au