Jan 18, 2013

Grassroots Effort by Educators Leads to an Innovative School Golf Course

© The Star Graphics 
Here in the US there's been much made, over the past several years, of golf's declining popularity.  In response, those who work in the industry... and those who care about the future of the game... have launched numerous initiatives to rebuild interest and attract new players to the sport, including the comprehensive, industry-wide strategic plan called Golf 2.0, which was introduced at this time last year.

Included was an ambitious campaign of public service announcements aimed at "women" and "couples", to encourage these two underrepresented groups to Get Golf Ready, with the PGA of America's nationally branded program which includes efficient, reasonably priced lessons, manageable goals and an emphasis on fun.  There are signs that the campaign is working as program participation is up 65% this year.  However, introducing young children to golf... and actually engaging them in the game... is what most agree is key to the sport's long term popularity. To that end the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's inclusion in Golf 2.0, the launch of PGA Junior League golf and the USGA's Junior Par initiatives, as well as ongoing efforts by The First Tee and Hook a Kid on Golf... not to mention the SNAG golf learning system... are all to be applauded.

In addition, there are many individuals... phys ed teachers and golf teaching professionals... and local organizations, working to promote golf in schools, which is something that could have a stellar impact on the long term growth of the game.  Nonetheless, due to the US sports culture, getting support for golf in elementary schools... and even in secondary schools... is often an uphill battle.


photo: Chan Tak Kong via thestar online  
Enthusiastic coach: Teacher Tee Lian Hong (right) giving 
17-year-old Anesha some golfing tips during training.
That's why I find this story so inspiring.  It takes place half way around the world in Malaysia, where high school teacher Surianarayanan Gavarasu's innovative four hole course design has allowed his school to offer and promote golf, along with the school's established sports.  SMK Bukit Indah High School is the first school in the region to have a golf course.

Each hole on the unique track is located at one corner of the school's football/rugby playing field, above the goalposts, to "...ensure that students playing football or rugby, as well as athletic events have no reason to run on the greens."  In addition, the schools gardener got involved and worked within the plan to build an underground drainage system and ensure that the greens would not become waterlogged.

As far as instruction is concerned, seven of the school's teachers are avid golfers and are committed to working with interested students to develop a competitive golf team encourage growth of sport they're passionate about. This is definitely a grassroots effort that that deserves more than a golf clap.

6 comments:

  1. Nice story. A four hole golf course is more than most US high schools have on campus.

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  2. Well it looks like golf's "stars" just follow the $$$ like Tiger & Rory in Dubai. That worked out well, didn't it?

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  3. Golf is a sport one can take into adulthood which is normally not the case with football, baseball even basketball and soccer. Due to the physical demands and risk of injury, not to mention the difficulty of getting teams together, once we graduate most of us stop playing the sports we played in school. We bring our kids around to games and watch from the stands... or take to the couch and watch on TV. The lucky ones are those who happened to get into golf, they, most likely, are still playing the sport they played as kids.

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  4. i don't know about these paths

    as kids we didn't have any particular parental guidance = just go caddie and hang around somewhere long enough = same as how we played baseball and football and basketball amongst ourselves

    business took me to kendall (miami) this morning and traffic being what it is here in so fla i got down there early.............early enough to visit KILLIAN GREENS GOLF CLUB, just on a whim, and i met this precocious kid behind the counter, who i guess was about twelve or fourteen and talked about working and playing at that course [there ALSO was a group of little people, maybe a dozen or so, who went out as players with instructors, to play the course] for my money for a long-term connection to the game, it would be the kid behind the counter instead of any of those campers whose resourced parents just wanted them out of the house on a no-school day yet supervised

    playing GOLF is like learning LATIN = you gotta want to do it for whatever benefits YOU see in it and not for the sake of someone else directing you to it


    anyway that's what i think

    frankDftliquordaleSOFLA33316

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  5. My niece is super athletic and has an UNREAL natural ability for golf, but when it came time to really focus on a sport she chose soccer :-( Her high school doesn't have a girl's golf team and even though she could play on the boys team all her friends are playing soccer and that's the way she decided to go. She's involved in a million other activities and just felt she wouldn't have time to do the two sports. Reading your post just made me think that if there was more support for golf in schools more kids would pursue it.

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  6. The golf equipment online is so much easier to access and you don't have to worry about pricing. I think that any girl would prefer to save money... I know my sisters would.

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Lets us know what you think...