As Golf Australia and the PGA announce the roll out their new MyGolf initiative, the ALPG has been busy with our own project in identifying and nurturing our stars of the future. The ALPG ActewAGL Next Generation Club was launched last year and in January 2014 the inaugural ActewAGL Next Generation Club Camp was held at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
Australian star Rachel Hetherington, winner of 11 international titles and over US$6 million dollars in prizemoney was the special Guest Mentor for the Camp. ActewAGL NGC members from ages 13 up to 18 from all over the country were the beneficiaries of spending two precious days with one of our most successful and respected professional players.
The emphasis for the three range and education sessions held during the camp was not on swing mechanics but around preparation and planning, course strategy, life on tour, health and fitness and mental preparation.
When Rachel was competing on Tour she was incredibly well respected by her peers for her work ethic, dedication and attention to detail and she was very clear in communicating to the girls about the level of commitment that would be required from them if they choose a career as a player.
Once the education sessions were complete on day 2, it was time for the ActewAGl Next Generation Club corporate day which provided the NGC members the opportunity to play as “professionals” in a corporate day with sponsors ActewAGL The afternoon fourball was a huge success and enjoyed by the NGC members and corporate guests alike.
Day 3 of the camp meant an early morning rise and the girls were very excited to get to Moss Vale where they would act as caddies for ALPG members in the second round of the Moss Vale Ladies Pro-am. There were some nervous faces as the NGC members learned that they would be caddying for some of the big names including ALPG star Stacey Keating! The feedback after the round was that the girls had learned an enormous amount about how to conduct themselves on the course and about course management from being able to witness the ALPG professionals in action from close quarters.
As the curtain fell on a fantastic few days were some very sad faces as goodbyes were said to newfound friends. (I am not sure which were the saddest faces, the NGC members or their ALPG counterparts!)
Rachel Hetherington had this to say about the ActewAGL NGC before she departed back to her Northern NSW home.
“I had a great couple of days with the girls. The NGC is unique in that it has former successful players giving the next generation of golfers the information they need to succeed” she said.
“I believe it can assist a number of young women that love the game of golf, but are not yet in a high performance program. I think it is a great thing the ALPG have identified. I told the girls not to become disillusioned if they weren’t identified in high performance programs. There are many pathways like doing a PGA traineeship or the PGA IGI course. I told them the other options are golf management, golf psychology, golf fitness – there are so many different pathways. There aren’t too many sports that offer that.”
She said those girls who attended the camp were engaging and eager to learn. “The girls really enjoyed the camp and asked a lot of good questions,” she said. “Hopefully I was able pass on information that will help them prepare for a tournament or how to manage their way around the golf course. We talked about practice and preparation. I told them what my practice routine was when I was playing and I also touched on nutrition and psychology – the things that every tour player learns to do and do well.”
All of the NGC members who attended the camp went home with new friends, new role models, a new focus and all kinds of information about the game and potential career opportunities that hopefully will keep them playing or involved in the game for life. That is the vision behind the NGC.
I would like to very sincerely thank Michael Costello, CEO of ActewAGL for his support and sponsorship of the NGC camp. Without their support the Camp would not have been possible. I would also like to thank Rachel for her huge contribution and also ALPG Board members Lee Harrington, Shani Waugh and Carlie Hoysted whose hard word and support were instrumental in ensuring the Camp was a success.
If any readers out there know any young women who have a handicap of less than 13 who may be interested in joining the ActewAGL Next Generation Club, please go to the ALPG website or contact Jennifer Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.