19 May 2022 | Participation | Women and girls |

Spirits cannot be dampened at Nambucca Heads

by Golf Australia

The Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club's community instructors with some of the club's Get Into Golf Women participants.
The Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club's community instructors with some of the club's Get Into Golf Women participants.

Not even the devastating floods along Australia’s east coast can stop the volunteers at Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club from getting more women playing golf.

The club, which resides on Stuarts Island in the Nambucca River, have found a way to deliver a thriving Get Into Golf Women’s program despite the course having flooded four times in three years, and the causeway accessing the island being subject to tidal flooding.

Their eight-week program was interrupted, but the spirits of the 16 women, who range from 40 to 75 years in age, could not be dampened as they feel in love with the game.

Nambucca Heads’ PGA Professional Paul Habgood led the program, while club members and community instructors Christine Clarke, Jenny Johnston and Sue Brooks developed it, and they all had to use their ingenuity when the greens were basically underwater.

The participants went inside for some putting games on those days, but when the waters receded Clarke, Johnston and Brooks took them out on course to put their newly acquired skills into action on shortened holes.

Off the course, the participants quickly became acquainted with the clubhouse as they enjoyed chips and nibbles after every session, and Habgood was full of praise for the way Clarke, Johnston and Brooks have guided the new crop of golfers.

“The community instructors help reinforce the lessons and encourage the participants so that while they are beginners there is a lot of fun to be had in the journey of learning the game,” he said.

As for the community instructors themselves, Clarke said it was honour for them to play their role within Get Into Golf.

“Paul encouraged us to keep the lessons very simple and fun,” she said.

“He encouraged the participants enthusiasm and joy of hitting a golf ball into the air which all women achieved thanks to Paul’s coaching. All of the community instructors and volunteers at the club are enjoying the involvement and watching their golfing skills improve week after week.”

Their involvement is far from over too as the club’s newest golfers are back for their second program and they have been joined by four new women.

The returing participants will progress to a nine-hole Ambrose program with the support of the volunteers so that they can learn the rules as they go and ask the volunteers any questions along the way.

The club is buzzing courtesy of the program and Nambucca Heads’ general manager Johnathon Zirkler believes it is a no-brainer.

“Programs such as these showcase the benefits of golf, be it physical, social, or mental health, to the community. As more participants come through the system, the programs become sought after not just for the developing of golf skills but also because the community starts to see how clubs are the centre of local communities,” he said.

All participants of the Get Into Golf Women’s program at Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club are able to develop their skills further by gaining access to the course after 3pm for a discounted rate and will be offered a reduced membership fee if they are keen to keep their golfing journey going.

Keen to volunteer at your local golf club and help grow the game? Register to become a Community Instructor here: https://www.golf.org.au/communityinstructor/

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