03 Feb 2022 | Industry news |

A concept worth nurturing

by Contributor

Ogilvy Prescup image
Geoff Ogilvy: 'The way pros and amateurs go about their business is so different.' Photo: Getty

The Tournament Players Series got going last year with two events, both of them hugely successful. And this year we’re going to have four, starting this week at the Rosebud Country Club on the Mornington Peninsula.

I for one am really looking forward to all four. This is just such a great concept, one that brings men and women - pros and amateurs - together in one event. On a small scale like this, one where the tees can be adjusted for both sexes, that really works well.

Even better is what we have in store on the weekend. We have a 36-hole amateur event for juniors. Each of them will get to play with two professionals, while those pros are competing in their own tournament. So the youngsters will be ‘inside the ropes’ with a great view of all the action. That’s the sort of experience and exposure we haven’t really seen in golf.

Not enough anyway. Before this, the only way for a young up-and-comer to play with a big name was if they got lucky in the draw at a tournament. Now, every year, these kids will get a chance to play what will be a big event for them in a pro tournament environment. All while the pros are also trying to shoot the best score they can. That’s a ‘money can’t buy’ experience for all concerned.

I mean that. It’s always fun for the more experienced amongst us to play with promising players who are full of enthusiasm. We are ticking boxes that golf hasn’t even tried to tick before now. It’s really about giving our best juniors the opportunity to play in pro-style events, something that has been lacking in Australia over the last 15-20 years. We all need those little moments of experience. We all need to get nervous and feel pressure.

My hope is that we are creating a pathway, one that will produce good players. And one that is a great fit with my own foundation. One of my biggest pleasures is being able to mentor youngsters who are keen to get better. Earlier this week I played a practice round with two who fit that bill. And afterwards we had a little Q&A session with myself and Stephanie Kyriacou answering all sorts of questions.

It’s amazing what the kids come up with, mostly about what it’s like to play the tour. What we would do differently at the age they are now comes up a lot too. And what to do on a week off is another popular one. Then they all love to hear about the best tournaments. Their eyes tend to get wide when they hear about how great it is to play in, say, The Memorial.

It’s just a great, stress-free environment for all concerned. It’s just a group of golfers hanging out together, asking and answering questions. The aim, of course, is that the information will make a positive difference down the road. But I have a feeling that just being around professionals is a big help to the younger ones. Hearing what they hear and seeing what they see will hopefully make all of them want to do this more.

I say that because the way professionals and amateurs go about their business is so different. So I have no doubt that the young amateurs will pick up so much just from being around the pros. They will see how better players go about their business. There is so much value in that. It’s priceless really.

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