08 Sep 2021 | Industry news |

Wright move for NT golf

by Dane Heverin

20-year-old Sam Wright is the newest board member in the Northern Territory.
20-year-old Sam Wright is the newest board member in the Northern Territory.

The average age in the Golf Australia Northern Territory board room has dropped considerably courtesy of 20-year-old Sam Wright.

Wright, who is 22 years to the junior of the next youngest board member, is the newest member of the board after emerging from the Northern Territory’s junior programs with a passion for youth engagement in golf.

“I want the game to be thriving and for young people to be carrying it forward for future generations to play,” Wright said.

The talented junior golfer turned servant of the game argues that there is a lot of work to be done to secure golf’s future.

“I think it’s a pretty steep curve that we have to face,” he said.

“Everyone knows what golf is like at the moment in terms of the average age of golfers and the demographic that plays the sport. Now it’s about getting more young people, and more women and girls, involved in golf and bringing down that average age. 

“We still need to encourage older people to play golf, of course, but we need to be getting a lot of juniors involved in golf. There’s not that many juniors playing right now - especially in places like the Northern Territory - and trying to encourage more people from areas that don’t play golf to get involved in the game.”

Indigenous children across The Top End and The Red Centre are one group of people that Wright believes golf needs to encourage to take up the game in greater numbers.

Clinics run by Golf Australia Northern Territory have introduced many indigenous children to golf and Wright is determined to continue these efforts.

“I’ve got friends who are indigenous that play golf and love it. So I think why can’t we get more indigenous people involved in the game?,” he said.

“We can go out to communities and continue doing junior programs - it’s a great area that I would like to focus on - not just indigenous people, but all minority groups. That’s a big goal - to push Indigenous and minority representation up.”

Wright’s philosophies on growing participation have emerged from a lifelong relationship with the sport. 

He is the son of avid golfers and began playing as soon as he could walk, but a five year absence during his teenage years was the catalyst for his rapid rise within golfing circles.

“In year 11, I don't know why, but the game just came back to me,” he said.  

“I started playing a lot again and that’s when I got to know the people involved in Golf NT better by playing in the junior teams.”

His connection to the golfing community grew deeper by working as a groundskeeper during a post-school gap year and continues to develop through his current role in the pro shop at Palmerston Golf and Country Club about 20km away from Darwin.

His most recent step into the administrative side of the game is one he hopes can encourage others to follow suit.

“Hopefully I can be a bit of a trailblazer and show people that they can also be involved and be a voice to help change the game of golf in a positive way,” he said.

“I know it can be scary, especially for younger people, to get involved in golf and golf clubs can be scary places sometimes but I think it’s important that we can get more young people involved and excited.”

Wright is very grateful for the opportunity presented to him and is not wasting any time in the pursuit of his goals.

“This all couldn’t have happened without Golf NT’s president Allen Fanning, credit to him for realising this opportunity and making it happen,” he said.

“For me it’s just the beginning, it’s exciting to get on the board in the first place but I’m keeping the mindset that now it’s time to get to work.”

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