15 Jul 2020 | Women and girls |
Community instructor sparks interest
by Golf Australia
The Club: Bridport Golf Club provides a picturesque nine-hole golf course in Bridport, just over 200km north of Hobart. The public access course is volunteer run and has no resident PGA Member.
Median age: 48 (national average 38)
Children aged 0-14 years: 15.7% of the population (average 18.7%)
People aged 65+ years: 26.9% (average 15.8%)
People born in Australia: 88.2% (average 66.7%)
Full-time workers: 55.1% of the population (average 57.7%)
Part-time workers: 34.3% (average 30.4%)
Median household weekly income: $969 (average $1,203)
Community instructors play an integral role in the delivery of national golf participation programs such as MyGolf and Get into Golf. These programs are fundamental in attracting and introducing new people to a facility and provide a pathway to increasing community involvement and membership at clubs.
The benefits of having a community instructor at your golf club include …
Clubs with PGA professionals
Even if your club has a PGA professional, community instructors can still be an invaluable asset. PGA professionals can use trained community instructors to support and assist with the delivery of programs at the club or in local schools. This can significantly reduce the workload and pressure on the PGA professional, as well as increase the capacity the club has to host more programs, therefore increasing not only the amount of participants but visitation (i.e. parents and carers, friends and family) and potential membership opportunities.
Clubs with no PGA professionals
Without a PGA professional, clubs may not have the capacity and resources to deliver national participation programs which significantly limits its exposure within the local community. Clubs could encourage their members to acquire community instructor accreditation to deliver these programs, or there may already be a qualified community instructor in the area who may be looking to get involved with the club.
Bridport Golf Club provides a picturesque nine-hole golf course in Bridport (population 1,715 people), north of Launceston on Bass Strait. The public access course is run by volunteers and has no resident PGA member.
When you think about powerhouses of golf, the names Hannah Green or Adam Scott may come to mind. Let us introduce to you, however, a powerhouse from Tasmania’s north-east – Mandy Hall.
Mandy, a club member at Bridport and local schoolteacher, has “get up and go” to burn.
Mandy only started golf five years ago, but in that time has joined the club, become secretary, gone on numerous golfing trips, obtained her community instructor accreditation and started running junior and women’s golf clinics!
“I got into golf over a wine at our local community club,” Mandy said. “Every Friday night the locals in Bridport know, if you feel like a drink and a chat just head on down. This is where I got speaking to a lady who played golf. She suggested I have a go, so I did!”
With a background playing hockey, Mandy quickly took to golf and started enjoying playing on a regular basis and balancing it all with her teaching career and gig as a swimming coach.
Then in March 2019, Golf Australia’s Vision 2025 roadshow came to Launceston – and, naturally, Mandy was one of the attendees.
“The roadshow planted a seed in my head. Teaching children is a passion of mine and I was enjoying playing golf. That’s when I thought if I can teach the whole north-east population to swim, I can teach them how to play golf, too! This was when my life took a new and exciting direction.”
Mandy completed her community instructor accreditation and encouraged some friends at the golf club to do the same.
“It is good to have a team of people so you can coach together or cover if someone is unavailable,” she said.
“I have good connections with four of the local schools, so I went and spoke at school assemblies, handed out flyers and recruited children that way. We ran our first MyGolf program for 15 children in Term 3 and it was great! There were not many girls enrolled, however, and we then realised that our program clashed with the local girl guides’ program each Monday night.
“Coincidentally I then learned that part of the girl guides’ program includes earning a sporting badge. I approached the club and offered to run MyGolf for the girls and they agreed. So we swapped our current MyGolf to another school night and ran a two-week program for the group of 11 girl guides.
“Some of the girls now want to continue to play golf which is fantastic. Funnily enough, they need to learn how to pitch a tent in the meantime, so we will re-engage them in our school holiday MyGolf program.”
In addition to the MyGolf after-school program, Mandy and her team have been involved in the MyGolf sporting schools’ program (running clinics at schools) and have also organised various come-and-try days.
It was back at the Bridport Community Club for a well-earned Friday night drink when Mandy started talking about the coaching she had been doing.
“One woman said she would like to give golf a go. Because I had the Vision 2025 thought in my head, along with the confidence in my ability to coach through the community instructor course, I thought, `Why not runs a women’s clinic, too?’,” she said.
“Within five minutes I had recruited an additional six women from the bar and as a result, we are now running a Swing Fit program each Sunday. These six women quickly grew to 10 through word of mouth which can be an extremely powerful recruitment tool, especially in country towns.
“It has been really exciting having new people at the club and coaching women has been really fun.”
Looking ahead, Mandy and the team are now setting up MyGolf holiday clinics along with a program to get Swing Fit graduates out on course.
Mandy has been very noble with her approach to grassroots development: “The best part of my experience has been when you see your beginner student hit a really nice ball and how excited they get. It is very rewarding.”
Challenges and Solutions:
“Because Liz (another community instructor) and I are still rather new to golf, some people have questioned our ability and suitability to coach. The community instructor course has been influential in building my confidence and skills to coach golf. Not only have I gained official accreditation to coach at a beginner level, having accessed the MyGolf, MyGolf Schools and Swing Fit modules, I have learned how to coach golf in an extremely fun and engaging, games-based way. In fact, we have had comments from people saying they have never seen golf taught that way before and were amazed at how well the children connected and enjoyed their experience.”
You don’t have to be an experienced, or even a good golfer to teach beginners. Access Golf Australia’s community instructor program and learn how you can teach the game in a fun and interactive way.
Encourage others to complete community instructor training to build a team of coaches in your local area. If there is a local PGA member, team up with them to guide beginners into more advanced coaching once they are ready.
Making contact and building a relationship with local schools, sports and community clubs can be a great starting point in increasing junior participation.
Schools can apply for government funding every school term through the sporting schools’ program where they can book a primary or secondary school golf program that can be delivered by a PGA member or community instructor
Your Golf Australia state participation manager is an excellent resource. He or she can assist you with training and establishing participation programs at your club.
Please note that Swing Fit / Ladies Lets Golf has since been re-branded into Get into Golf Women - to learn more click here.
Sign-up to Golf Australia’s national participation programs - including Get into Golf, MyGolf and the Community Golf Instructor program via golf.org.au.
For further assistance on any of the above and to request templates and resources, contact your Regional Development or Club Support Officer via www.golf.org.au/clubsupport or email email@example.com
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