16 Aug 2022 | Participation |

Northcote Gala Days a success for Special Schools

by Dane Heverin

Golf Australia’s Gala Days for Special Schools at Northcote Public Golf Course earlier this month were a big success with 120 students taking part in the two sessions.

Ten different Special Schools from across north metropolitan Melbourne were involved with their students experiencing golf for the first time.

They rotated through games-based activities to get a grasp of driving, chipping and putting with modified equipment in a safe and fun environment, and they loved receiving their medals, sunglasses and wristbands at the end.

PGA Professional Scott Wearne from Keilor Public Golf Course and four community instructors ran the sessions with one of the instructors, Alexander Eckstein, showing the students first-hand the opportunities available to them within golf.

Eckstein was a participant in the first Gala Day held at Edithvale Public Golf Course in 2017 and he is now a fully accredited community instructor.

He assists in the delivery of introductory golf programs at Edithvale and gets paid to do so.

“I enjoy walking around in every group and making sure everyone is having a good time,” he said.

Golf Australia is focusing on implementing more Special Schools golf programs to assist participants with overall quality of life with the assistance of Special Olympics Australia through the ‘Inclusive Sport in Schools’ program.

The program allows funding to be received by schools to bring in specialised All-Abilities coaches to run eight-week MyGolf programs each term. The participants from these programs then transition to Special Olympics Affiliate clubs to continue their golfing journey.

Golf Australia’s senior manager - programs and inclusion Christian Hamilton is thrilled to be working with his team on giving children with disability more opportunities to get into golf.

“The importance of ongoing physical activity and social connectedness is so important for health and wellbeing. There is no other sport positioned in a way where we truly integrate like we do with golf,” he said.

“It’s probably one of the most inclusive sports by design. Whether you are young or old, male or female, or have different levels of ability, it doesn’t matter because it’s a game for everyone. With this in mind, there is no reason why golf can’t be the sport of choice for people with disability.”  

There are more than 170 accredited PGA All-Abilities coaches in Australia ready to help participants on their golfing journey and you can find out how to get involved in All Abilities golf here.

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