06 Dec 2022 | Women and girls |

Two AGF scholarship girls take home ‘awesome’ prize

by Golf Australia

Sammie Hoad with her coach Paige Stubbs (left) and Imojen Burgess in action (right).
Sammie Hoad with her coach Paige Stubbs (left) and Imojen Burgess in action (right).

Two very exciting phone calls have been made to two delighted girls this week…

Sammie Hoad from Castle Hill Country Club, NSW and Imojen Burgess, Flagstaff Hill Golf Club, SA picked up the phone and learned that as part of the Australian Golf Foundation (AGF) Junior Girls Golf Scholarship program, they had won a custom fitted set of 14 Callaway and Odyssey golf clubs - kindly donated by Callaway!

There were tears of joy when fourteen-year-old Sammie Hoad, who started her golf at age five with a miniature set of Callaway’s, received the phone call.

“I was shocked!” she said. 

Sammie had no idea that Steve Gannon, PGA Golf Operations Manager at Castle Hill Country Club (CHCC) had put her name forward on behalf of himself, coach Paige Stubbs and the CHCC junior committee. This was part of rewarding and recognising outstanding girls in the 2022 program who have shown great commitment to the program and their golf. 

PGA Professional, Paige Stubbs took on the role of head coach for the AGF scholarship program and said, “Sammie’s determination and dedication to improving her golf, made me as a coach proud to help her along that journey.

“I loved how Sammie was always encouraging the other girls in the group to play and practice, showing her great leadership skills.”

It seems that ‘leadership’ runs in the family, with Sammie’s granny being a past Women’s Club Captain and now Sammie taking on Castle Hills first ever Junior Girls Captain – one of two new roles created at the club for both junior boys and girls to empower young members to have a voice and develop leadership skills.  

From a five-year-old starting golf under her granny’s guidance and years of MyGolf, Sammie has come a long way to be now speaking in front of over 200 members at the club’s recent 70th birthday celebrations. 

“The way she confidently spoke in front of so many members was a testament to her,” said Gannon. 

Not only has Sammie’s confidence and leadership skills flourished over the past year in the scholarship program, but her golf has too – dropping her handicap from 43 to 31. 

“The scholarship program has given me access to consistent coaching with Paige and the chance to get on-course more,” said Sammie. 

“We have learnt a lot about course management and the mental side of the game, too.”

Gannon also recognises the benefit of the girl’s scholarship program.

“It has provided girls like Sammie, who graduate from MyGolf, a structured program to enter with other girls, obtain handicaps and enjoy course play.”

Six of Sammies' family members hold CHCC membership, including her grandparents and parents. Now with the addition of Sammie as a club member through the scholarship program, the club proudly hosts the first ever three generations of playing female members from the same family – grandmother, mother and grand-daughter, Sammie. The threesome regularly enjoying playing together on school holidays. 

Determined to lower her handicap, Sammie is keen to play more competitions and thrilled to have acquired a new set of Callaway clubs. 

“I think these will definitely help me lower my handicap, and I'm so grateful for this wonderful prize” she said. 

Thirteen-year-old Imojen Burgess has demonstrated great bravery and boldness in her quest to become a golfer.

Just one and a half years ago, with no friends or family members being golfers, and never having set foot in a golf club or on a course before, Imojen turned up to Flagstaff Hill Golf Club to ‘give it a go’.

“I saw an ad in the local newspaper for a come-and-try MyGolf day,” explained Imojen. “And wanted to try hit a ball.”

It turns out Imogen has a gift, and very quickly progressed her golf to obtain a handicap of 23. 

“It is an amazing feat,” said Sarah Douglass-Norris, PGA Professional at the club. “Having turned up to try golf and be surrounded by boys who had played before - this is a true reflection of her character and mindset to just give things a go.”

For months Imogen was the only girl, and at times felt superseded against a backdrop of experienced boys. But her perseverance plus the support of her coach, paid off.

“My coaches, Nick Mc Cormack and Sarah Douglass-Norris were very encouraging and supportive and just kept me coming back,” said Imogen. 

The timing of the scholarship program could not have been better for Imojen who, at the start of the year, had started hitting quite well. 

This is when Imojen connected with other girls, and further improved her golf through consistent training and on-course play. 

“The highlight of the program for me, was meeting other girls who played, and learning in a really supportive environment,” she said. 

Imojen’s mother Robyn, a soon-to-be golfer has been thrilled with the experience for her daughter.

“As a parent, it has been incredible to watch Imogen progress. Now that she is playing, and all the Flagstaff Hill staff and members have been hugely encouraging and friendly, I am going to have to take it up, too!”

Another non-golfer in the family, Imojen’s grandfather, who often drops Imogen to training, has also found a love for the game. Although not playing himself, he has become fully involved with scoring competitions, including the junior club championship. 

“Imojen’s grandfather has been such a huge help,” said Douglass-Norris. “The whole family is a joy, and we are so pleased the scholarship program has fostered the involvement of them in the club.”

Imojen’s words of advice for other girls thinking about giving golf a go …

“Just turn up. It does not matter who is there or who is watching, just give it a go.” 

Imojen is extremely thankful to Callaway for the clubs, as she currently borrows hand-me-downs from her coach. 

Her next focus is getting more distance on her drive, and she thinks her new Callaway driver will help her do that! 

Golf sets have been kindly donated by Callaway.

Callaway Golf has a long history of supporting all forms of Women’s Golf, from Tour Professionals & Elite Amateurs to supporting beginner and new to golf programs.

“This year we’re proud to again support the Australian Golf Foundation Junior Girls Golf Scholarship program.

“We look forward to organising a special set of custom fitted clubs to the scholarship winners and seeing more and more new girls enjoying the great game of golf.” – Matt Meredith, Callaway Golf South Pacific Managing Director.

The 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. Visit australiangolffoundation.org.au for further information.

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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