Are we all do­ing our part?

Inside Golf - - News - Richard Fell­ner Group Editor richard@in­sid­e­golf.com.au @in­sid­e­golf

As a fa­ther of two schoolaged chil­dren, I am of­ten dis­heart­ened (or even down­right an­gry) when I see, year af­ter year, how sports like cricket, footy, soc­cer, net­ball and bas­ket­ball take cen­tre stage in the school news­let­ters, no­tices and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions, while golf gets nary a men­tion.

so imag­ine my sur­prise (nay, de­light) when a re­cent school no­tice an­nounced that the up­com­ing term’s Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion (PE) class would in­clude a few classes on the ba­sics of golf! I rubbed my eyes in dis­be­lief and took a sec­ond look to make sure that I wasn’t hal­lu­ci­nat­ing.

In­trigued, I im­me­di­ately emailed the PE teacher, Phil Lums­den, to ask him what prompted the in­ter­est in push­ing golf as a PE/school sport. Was it in re­sponse to a state ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram? Was it some­thing that had been pro­moted by Golf Aus­tralia? Was there a spe­cific club/course in­volved? I needed to know just how this ‘mir­a­cle of mir­a­cles’ came to be.

His re­sponse was sim­ple: he was a golfer.

A mem­ber at East­wood Golf Club in Kil­syth ( Vic­to­ria), Phil runs a pri­mary school golf day there as part of the Golf Vic pri­mary school pro­gram (a qual­i­fy­ing for state ti­tles.) And as he is in­volved with golf, he de­cided to in­tro­duce it to Black­burn Lake Pri­mary school (my kids’ school) for the up­com­ing term.

Apart from the many ad­van­tages and ben­e­fits that golf of­fers, one of the main rea­sons why Phil be­lieves that golf is a great PE/school sport is that ev­ery child (no mat­ter their size, fit­ness level, age, gen­der, strength, etc) starts on equal ground.

“I find that golf is a good sport for those kids who may not be the most ath­letic - ev­ery­one pretty much starts from the same point, as far as ex­pe­ri­ence goes,” Phil ex­plains.

This was mu­sic to my ears (or eyes, I guess, as it was via email).

For many of the stu­dents, the in­tro­duc­tion of golf was a welcome change from the usual sports and ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Golf is much more re­lax­ing than a lot of the other sports we do,” says Alyssa Dunn, year 6 stu­dent who is also ac­tive in net­ball, ten­nis, cross­coun­try and many other sports at Black­burn Lake Pri­mary. “It wasn’t easy at first, but I re­ally liked it when I fi­nally hit a good shot!” she says.

Thomas Avent, another year 6 stu­dent at the school, echoes Dunn’s com­ments.

“In other sports we play, there’s lots of wait­ing, and it’s tense,” says Thomas, who also plays mul­ti­ple sports at the school, in­clud­ing bas­ket­ball and cross­coun­try. “Golf is more re­lax­ing and fun. I liked how it started with small things like hit­ting into the hole, and then we learned other tech­niques like a small chip and a big chip. I would re­ally like to play golf again in the fu­ture.”

And that, right there, is ex­actly what golf needs. The fu­ture of our sport de­pends upon sim­ply in­tro­duc­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to this fan­tas­tic game. Get a club in their hands. The Golf Gods will do the rest.

The key point here is that Phil (a golfer) took it upon him­self to help grow the game. And it’s some­thing that each and ev­ery one of us, as fel­low golfers, must do if we want golf to thrive. Aus­tralian golf’s gov­ern­ing bod­ies and as­so­ci­a­tions have in­tro­duced plenty of tools/pro­grams to pro­mote the game (they’ve es­sen­tially “led the horse to wa­ter”), and now it’s up to Us to take the next step.

As luck would have it, there’s no bet­ter time than RIGHT NOW to fol­low Phil’s lead, and help spread the magic of golf—not just to ju­niors, but to the wider com­mu­nity of all ages. Oc­to­ber is, af­ter all, Golf MONTH ( www.golf­month.com.au), an ini­tia­tive de­signed by the gov­ern­ing bod­ies/as­so­ci­a­tions to help pro­mote the game, and ig­nite par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sport. There will be ac­tiv­i­ties and events held at par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs through­out Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing clin­ics, com­pe­ti­tions, open days, ju­nior and ladies pro­grams, new for­mats, mem­ber­ship of­fers and com­mu­nity events.

This isn’t just about ju­niors. It’s about any­one who can pick up a golf club. so why not men­tion it to your friends, fam­ily, col­leagues or any­one else in your “cir­cle” of in­flu­ence. Get on the phone, on so­cial media or even faceto-face (do we even do that any­more?) The more the mer­rier.

Un­like most other sports out there, golf is a game that can be en­joyed by ab­so­lutely ev­ery­one at any point in their life, so let’s all get out there and spread the word, and give back to the game that we all love.

see you on the fair­ways.

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