Meet Michael. He coached tennis for seven years from the year 2000, became a golf professional in 2008 and played full time golf for seven years, including the Canadian, South American and Asian tours.
Michael began his bridging through the PGA in 2016, where his work with Thaxted Park Golf Club started.
When Michael first started with the club, there were precious few options for junior golfers.
As his bridging included running a junior golf day, much of Michael’s focus was on gaining interest in this event and, through the event, encouraging registrations for an eight-week Term 4 program. To promote this as effectively as possible, the event was set up as a free clinic for all.
In parallel, Michael was lucky to have a member at the club who was a teacher at one of their local schools, who kindly provided contacts for six of the local schools in the area.
Three of these schools signed up to run two-week MyGolf programs, where the kids followed a lesson plan of introductory chipping and full swing in the first week, followed by full swing and target practice in the second week. Flyers promoting Thaxted Park’s free junior day and eight-week MyGolf program were given to all participants.
Approaching the junior day, the club had only received 18 registrations but, on the day, the registrations flowed in, resulting in 38 juniors attending!
With the help of club volunteers, the head professional Jay Fuss and trainee professional Emma Ash, the juniors were split up into three stations covering full swing, chipping and putting.
They were then sent out on course with club volunteers in groups of four to try a shortened course for a six-hole ambrose.
After these events Michael conducted presentations, with every participant receiving a certificate and a prize donated by Callaway. The club also provided a free BBQ and drinks for the remainder of the day, which everyone loved.
With reminders provided for the eight-week MyGolf program to begin in Term 4, the club had 12 juniors register, which was a fantastic result.
To keep things rolling, Michael touched base with another four local schools and found two wanted to take up the offer a two-week program.
He then promoted two Christmas holiday clinics at $10 each for 150 minutes with lunch included and the ability to bring a friend for free. This encouraged high attendance – with 27 juniors for the first clinic and 16 for the following clinic.
Leading into Term 1, Michael decided to set up a more formal setting, with three levels provided for juniors at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels and focusing on fun while learning throughout each.
Approaching Term 1 in 2017, Thaxted Park is now looking at over 20 registrations for the 10-week MyGolf program, showing that junior golf at the facility is starting to grow.
Michael plans to run another junior golf day following Term 1, to promote as many registrations as possible for Term 2.
“I would like to thank Allan Telford and Golf SA for their help with the Prescott college connection, as well as their help in providing equipment,” Michael said.
“By the end of the year I would love the Thaxted Park junior program to offer coaching five nights a week, with two sessions a night. I’d like to run a squad or masterclass on a Saturday afternoon too, where the kids can play a fun, relaxed nine-hole comp.”
“The goal is to make Thaxted a great home for junior development. To make this happen I want to keep it affordable for everyone – at $10 per session.”
Michael has achieved fantastic things in junior golf by focusing on enjoyment and basic skill learning throughout.
To register for a Thaxted Park program please visit www.mygolf.org.au/programs/Thaxted.
Congratulations Michael, keep up the great work!