Date: February 28, 2014
Author: Sarah Kennedy / Golf Australia

MYGolf Centre of the Month proving a hit with juniors

Located in Melbourne s east, Kingston Links Golf Course has been registered as a MYGolf Centre since October 2013 after the opening of their new driving range. With their new facilities in place, Kingston Links management hired PGA Professional Zoe Nelson as their Junior Golf Coordinator with the aim of establishing a quality junior program at the course. Making the move from Queensland, Nelson was the perfect fit for Kingston Links having implemented and run a successful MYGolf program at Riverlakes Golf Club. With Nelson on board, Kingston Links were able to implement the MYGolf program and are already enjoying success with more than 30 children registered and taking part each week which Nelson believes is crucial for the long term future of the club. It’s an important part of the culture of the club to make families and children feel welcome and to give them a complete pathway to learning golf, said Nelson. Nelson believes in providing a fun, enjoyable, friendly and professional learning experience for the juniors and takes satisfaction in being able to pass on her knowledge to the next generation. Seeing how much children improve, grow and evolve throughout their years in the junior program is very satisfying, said Nelson. A typical MYGolf session at Kingston Links will involve a series of stations to develop fundamental movement skills before the juniors move on to practical golf technique development. Each session will always finish with a fun game or competition. Nelson believes the MYGolf program is a great starting point for a professional to use, but says that each individual needs to adjust it to suit their own strengths. The benefits are there if you take the time to develop and implement correct structures that suit your own venues strengths and weaknesses, said Nelson. In order to provide the best possible experience for new juniors, Kingston Links has also introduced a junior development and learning area. This newly develop area contains a ten bay tee off area, four target greens, five practice bunkers, a variety of chipping areas and a water hazard and bridges. This allows Nelson and the other professionals to provide tuition on golf etiquette as well as golf club and shot selection whilst the juniors benefit from having the ability to play a modified game in a fun and safe environment. When asked for advice on how other clubs could run a similarly successful program, Nelson spoke of a number of factors that are all equally as important. You need the support of the management team, great facilities, well-structured programs and an enthusiastic team of people in your club that genuinely like children and are good at encouraging and teaching children, said Nelson. Encouraging the local community to embrace and use the venue with school visits, open days and local area marketing are also critical.