Sunday July 28th

Rookie / Beginner Program

Week 2 of the Term 3 Rookie program saw bright and pleasant conditions when under the sun.  Unfortunately, the hitting area remains covered in the shade at that time of the morning, so the juniors and myself had to withstand some chilly conditions.  Dan especially found the conditions unsuitable for hitting and was trying to work out a way that he could hit the ball whilst his hands were in the pockets of his hoodie!

It has been great to see a few new faces to the program this term, while we always welcome past participants back.  With quite a few of the juniors from the Term 2 Program being promoted to the Silver Program, the numbers have been a bit small to start off the Term 3 program.  Last week we welcomed Dan and Sienna to the program, while also seeing the always entertaining Michael (AKA Digger). This week we also had Annabelle and Elsa attend, with Ted making a return visit.
Last week the children got to learn the basics of the set up and then apply it to a “chip” shot and then a “chip and run” shot. They also learnt some of the basic safety rules that we use during the program and learnt about the penalties for not following them, like having to run to the tree and back in 10 seconds.

This week we did a recap of the basics of the set up before getting to hit some 7 irons down the range. Each child was also shown their swing, using the Hudl app and what to think of when hitting a shot.
After about 30 minutes of trying to hit shots to keep warm, and Dan going for a run to warm up even more, the children were given the challenge of trying to play a small controlled shot of about 20 metres to hit a large bucket placed down the range. After a few attempts where they were focusing too much on the bucket and not the basic mechanics to hit the shot needed to hit the bucket, their focus changed and there were some great attempts. The bucket was also hit a number of times.

With about 15 minutes to go the children got to hit their favourite club, the Driver! There was a brief description of the changes needed to hit the driver successfully before the children got to unleash some big swings at the ball with the “big club”.

All the children were really well behaved and no one had to go for a run for not following the rules (well this week anyway).  For their excellent efforts and behaviour each child received a chocolate bar at the end of the session.

Next week we will revisit the chip shot before some more full swing work on the range and if numbers allow, some team games.

Silver / Intermediate Program

Last week we saw the first week of the Term 3 Silver Program and saw some new faces that had graduated from the Rookie Program. Congratulations to Alex, Bryce, Daniel, Jake and Luke on their graduation to the Silver Program. We also waved goodbye to Ethan, Ollie L, Noah and Tom who graduated to the Gold Program. It was also great to see Conor, George, Jas, Ollie P and Sophie back for another term of learning and having fun.

We had a soft re-Introduction to the program last week, with some full swing work and analysis of each child’s swings on the Hudl app. This week the children got to work on their full swing again and then play some games where they had to hit targets from different distances and angles to simulate different situations they might encounter around the golf course.

The group was split up into 2 teams, Team A consisted of Bryce, Conor, Jas and Sophie, while Team B had Alex, George, Jake and Ollie P. The first Team Game was the old favourite “hitting into the bunker”. The shot measures about 65 metres and the bunker, positioned in the middle of the range, is approximately 4 metres wide. The week prior each player had at least 10 attempts each before a ball finally went in. This week, maybe due to some practice, it only took a few hits in total before Bryce opened the account for Team A.  From there, the match resembled a boxing match, with the teams going blow for blow, Alex, then Jake, Conor, Jake again (showing his affinity for this shot), Alex again (proving that he has moved on from his choker episodes in Term 2), Bryce, Conor. This set up a winner take all scenario and Conor came away with the goods for Team A to give them a 1-0 advantage.

The second Team Game was a bit more challenging and involved trying to either hit into a large bucket and gain 3 points or hit the bucket for 1 point. The shot was approximately 25 metres and tested the imagination of the children, go for the lower percentage high shot and try to get it in the bucket or go the more conservative lower route to hit the bucket. To start off with most children attempted to land the ball in the bunker before everyone lowered their eyes and tried the tough challenge of hitting the bucket. Ollie got the scoring away early after his attempt lipped out from going in for 3 points, then once again the match see-sawed, Jas, Ollie, Bryce, Ollie, Conor, Ollie again (he does love a competition) and then Sophie, to once again leave it to the next hit taking all. This time George woke up from his slumber to tie the match at 1 all.

As so often happens, it all came down to the final Team Game. This entailed hitting at the bucket again, but this time it was positioned a further 10 metres away.  Alex opened proceedings before George added to the lead. Conor struck back with 2 in a row to square it up and if it were not for a force field the bucket put up to stop Sophie’s many near misses, the match could have ended well for Team A. However, it quickly became the Ollie show as he got 3 of the next 4 to win the day for Team B and as Alex stated “MVP Ollie”.

Another fun and entertaining week for all the children and parents and I look forward to next week where we will be working on short game and of course there will be more enthralling contests.


Gold Program

Last week saw the first week of the inaugural Gold Program.  The Gold Program is the next progression for junior golfers, arming them with the necessary tools to be able to comfortably play on the golf course with any level of golfer.  Congratulations to Ethan, Ollie L, Noah and Tom for their graduation from the Silver Program to the Gold Program.

The first week of the Program was a re-fresher course on the full swing and the juniors got some of the rust out, before this week’s change up to short game.  The children starting off working on their ½ to ¾ strength pitch shots with the sand wedge, working on technique firstly before then trying to add feel to control the distance of the shot.  After about 30 minutes of fine tuning the children were split into 2 teams Ethan and Ollie versus Noah and Tom.

The first game was a straight forward 30 metre pitch to a flag positioned toward the middle of the green.  Ollie showed that with some practice he can start to hit the shot he wants to and won the first point with a well-controlled pitch to inside 5 feet.  The second game was back to the same flag to see if they could all dial in to the required feel for the shot and Noah and Tom this time excelled with the 4 golf balls between them all finishing within 10 feet and levelling the scores at 1 – 1.

The third game was a longer pitch of about 40 metres to a flag that was precariously positioned at the back of the green, less than 10 feet from a big drop off. There was plenty of green to work with, so the children changed clubs and technique.  Chip and run with a 7 iron was the shot selection as this gave them the most room for error.  Everyone adapted to the change in club really well and only 1 ball went over the back of the green, with Ollie once again playing the superior shot to finish within 4 feet of the flag and give them a 2 – 1 advantage.

The fourth game was to the same flag but from 5 metres closer.  This time it was Noah’s time to shine as he controlled the distance superbly to have both his shots finish with 5 feet.  Seeing that his team was in control, Tom thought it was time to pull out one his trick shots and play it between his legs.  It was fair to say that this wasn’t successful and luckily Noah’s shots held sway and the scores were level. 

The final game required even more imagination as they had to play a chip and run from over the back of the green, down in the deep gully.  A shot that required enough speed to get the ball up the steep slope, but also soft enough to not run away down the green.  Finish short of the green and the ball would come back.  All four mastered the ball getting up the slope but Tom’s shot finished within 3 feet, a distance a Tour Pro would have been delighted with, to win the day for Noah and himself.

Next week we will be out on the Creek Course playing a few holes, learning about some course management but also some rules they might encounter.