27 Jun 2023 | Women and girls |

AGF Scholarships: Babinda hits the jackpot

by Australian Golf Media

Babinda AGF scholar girls
Some of the Babinda scholarship holders with their AGF shirts.

By Serrin Bertino

Babinda Golf Club, a regional club in Queensland, is no different from hundreds of other regional clubs across the country.

Its local township is small, it has a small club membership, and relies on the contribution of volunteers to maintain and run the club.

Babinda GC is one of 90 regional/rural clubs across the country that has received funding to retain girls in golf through the Australian Golf Foundation (AGF) Junior Girls Scholarship program.

Gabrielle Anthony is the key driver of the program at the club. Like many other country golfers, she holds numerous titles -- club president, junior coordinator, and community instructor of the club’s junior program.

Starting her presidency role in 2021, she saw problems. “There was a black hole with no women and girls coming through the club,” she said.

But Anthony instituted change at the club. “Knowing we wanted more girls playing, my role as junior coach happened quite organically,” she said.

“I started teaching golf to my niece and nephew. My niece’s girlfriends also wanted to learn. Then after hearing there was a group of girls playing, a father of three daughters also signed his girls up.”

Suddenly, the club had a group of six girls learning golf together and that is when they heard about the AGF’s golf program for girls aged 10-16.

“The scholarship program has enabled the girls to really cement their skills and start getting into game-play,” said Gabrielle.

“It has been a great way to solidify their interest in the game.”

With the aim of integrating the girls into the club, scholarship holders are invited to main events, such as Open Days, but play a modified version.

“Our members have been extremely supportive,” said Gabrielle. “Some of us play our event before heading back out to accompany the girls to play their shortened course.

“We then all come in together and the girls can meet members and feel the ‘vibe’ of the club.”

Not only is the scholarship program benefiting girls, but it is also engaging new people to participate in different aspects of the club.

“The scholarship program has enabled us to connect with a new group of parents. Some have very handy skills, such as carpentry, that we draw upon as a volunteer-based club.

“We have also managed to engage some parents in our Sunday Get into Golf clinics,” said Gabrielle.

“This is all about giving golf a go, but more importantly giving people a break and a fun outing to connect with others.”

The club’s aim is to build on these programs and get bigger and better each year.

Coming from just two women members at Babinda GC in 2020, to now many girls and women starting golf, it seems the club is on the right track.

The Australian Golf Foundation Junior Girls Golf Scholarship program benefits many regional and rural based clubs and girls across Australia. In fact, 64% of funded clubs in 2023 are regional or rural clubs.

Applications for 2024 AGF Scholarship club funding open 18 August 2023 and close 28 October 2023. Keep an eye on the AGF website

Australian Golf Foundation is the national foundation for golf in Australia. The AGF supports Golf Australia’s vision to grow golf by investing in targeted initiatives to inspire all Australians to enjoy and play the game. Find a local scholarship program near you. Visit australiangolffoundation.org.au for further information.

Australian Golf Foundation is thrilled to partner with NEXTGEN Group as the principal partner of the AGF Scholarship Programme in 2022, with significant further support provided by Golf Australia, Golf Victoria, Victorian Golf Foundation, Golf Queensland, Golf South Australia, Golf Tasmania, Golf Western Australia, Western Australian Golf Foundation, Golf Northern Territory, Golf Management Australia, WPGA Tour of Australasia and PGA of Australia, as well as a number of additional generous private benefactors.

The scholarship program has come to fruition thanks to the foresight and generosity of Bonnie Boezeman AO, Director of the Australian Golf Foundation, who originally established the program at Killara Golf Club, NSW.

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