We are getting close to the end of our tournament season and I would consider everything a success although definitely room for a little more work. There was a lot of golf played and I believe one of the issues we will have to address is making sure scheduling is better for our players. As this was the first full year of training now we are realizing errors in our programming which we can now change for better results in the future.
I will start off with the Holland College Order of Merit. If you read any results in the paper or have been looking online you will see the players have been tremendous. We have seen numerous scores in the 60’s and a player has to be under par to win! This shows the quality of our players. As for pace of play we have yet to have an issue and everybody has been respecting the facilities everywhere we go. The order of merit was use to determine our teams for both Atlantics and Nationals.
The Atlantic Championships were in Newfoundland this year and proved to be very challenging logistically. Last year when running the order of merit one of the main complaints I received was in previous years nothing was organized for travelling teams. This year knowing the tournament was in Newfoundland I was in talks early with NB and NS. After NS decided not to fund Atlantics we partnered with NB for travel. Seeing how the PEIGA increased the budget this year for junior travel for the sole reason Atlantics were in Newfoundland we had some extra funds to use for this trip and I wanted to make sure anyone that qualified would have a chance to go. I sent out an email with my plans as if we committed it was going to be a major expense and I wanted to make sure people were on board before committing. I received 8 responses before my timeline of which 7 were very positive about the plans and one was on the fence. I then decided to book. I then received a response 2 weeks later which was against it but at this point to late so I disregarded it. Once the team qualified it became immediately apparent there were going to be issues as only about half were going to take the option we provided which all our funds were going into while the other half were going to do their own thing but still wanted some compensation.
This was very disheartening as our “team” was fractured and it cost us a lot more money than it should have as for each player not taking this option it added the already paid for expense since we would not be seeing any reimbursement from that player.
Anyway the team went over and although a little bit of a struggle the first day for the most part the players all started coming around on the 2nd day and really started playing well. PEI actually won the Juvenile division! It was a great experience and after all was done I am very happy with how the players performed.
Nick Peters went on this trip and I received numerous comments on how good he was with the kids and how well everything went under his guidance for the things he could control. The bus driver is another story.
4 juniors qualified for Nationals and in a twist because of our National Junior Golf Development Centre we earned another two exemptions. Since it was a very busy schedule this year I ended up going to ease some of the financial burden on the families as they would not have to go if I went. I took three players with me and the other three went with their families. This was another great experience in Niagara although some thunder showers made for some long delayed days. The first day was great for what we got in although a couple had to play their first round on day 2. The highest score after the first round was 78 which I though was exceptional especially on a 7100 yard course. Upon completion of the second round however we only had one player make the cut with 2 players only missing a 2 shots. Jordan Birt went on to have a very solid tournament and it will be very exciting to see him compete over the next few years. What I am really excited about is everyone on our team has the chance to compete again since they were all so young so I am very much looking forward to watching over the next couple years.
On a side note I had a very good lengthy conversation with the golf coach from Kent State and he is very excited about our program and watching us develop. Its nice to start getting recognition from south of the border and shows how closely we are getting watched.
At nationals I will mention a major mistake on my part. I was chaperoning three kids but tried to help anyone and committed to drive Tyson Gavin for his first round. I was up early and got the first players to the course and was supposed to pick Tyson up at 10:45. I got back to my hotel at 10:00 and got a couple work emails out with the last being at 10:20. I figured I lied down for a few minutes before going to get him and fell asleep on the hotel bed with my phone on silent as I was walking the course in the morning watching Ryan Legault. I woke up to find out it was only 25 minutes to Tyson’s tee time and I had his clubs. I rushed them to the course where he was waiting and although he started very well with 5 straight pars on some tough holes this is a mistake that should have never happened and I take things very personally so still feel horrible about even being slightly late.
Anyway that aside everything is going really well and when the rest of our tournament season wraps up soon we will be hitting the schools again for another round. In the meantime we have been attending some festivals and doing some mobile clinics so we had a really busy summer and hopefully it only gets better in the future.
Provincial Golf Coach
So far 2014 has been a tremendously busy year with our first ever year round training of our NJGDC Development Team. We have a full team of professionals and have implemented a strengthening program and have been attending mental training workshops with our staff. Most recently we have brought on Colin Moore who has been doing mobility and stability assessments on all of our players. This will help individualize everyone’s workout program to best strengthen the areas needed to improve their swings.
We are also getting ready to have our first ever spring camp and the mens national coach Robert Ratcliff is flying in to help facilitate. This will be a comprehensive two days so all of our players are prepared for the start of the tournament season. With all this extra preparation it will be very exciting to see how well our players do in all the tournaments they are planning to play.
Keeping at the Elite level we finished the Holland College Order of Merit schedule and are eager to start a great program. New this year will be a mid season barbeque where all participants and parents are invited to socialize and get to know each other a little more. We also changed our registration to better fund prizes and travel for those who qualify for tournaments. Budgets will be prepared and delivered in time for the spring PEIGA meeting in May.
On the other end of the spectrum Nick Peters and I have been busy delivering the Golf in Schools program. So far we have seen 4 schools being LM Montgomery, Spring Park, Prince Street and Gulf Shore. We will have a couple more this spring but so far we have taught around 80 classes delivering the program to over 1100 students from K – Grade 6. We are also lining up a couple field trips where as last year we will be receiving a $500.00 grant from Golf Canada and using that to buy the school their own GIS kit. Our plan by years end is to get to 2000 students and receive 4 grants for schools to buy their own kits.
Along the lines of growing the game we are changing our model for the Future Links mobile clinics. The initiative of this program is to get golf clubs into the hands of juniors for the first time to get them excited about the game. This year we will be setting up at festivals where kids can come and hit golf balls into an inflatable net or try putting. This will allow us to see many more kids and pass off information of where they can go to get started. The most exciting idea is due to our specific demographic. Because we are on an Island we are going to spend a couple days set up at the Cavendish beach as long as we can get the proper permits.
A few things we are doing this year to raise some funds to help our development team athletes are already planned and will be announced shortly. First of all we are hosting a fundraising dinner in May with Robert Ratcliff who will be speaking on the importance of the National Development team. This will educate the golfing community on why we implemented a local version to try and create inspiration for others to take up the game of golf.
On another venture we just secured our lottery license for this years raffle. We hope in addition to raising funds for our development team that PEI golf clubs will sell these tickets to help fund their own junior program. For any club that sells tickets we will give 50% of the sales back to the club for their own junior program. 25% will go towards ticket costs with the other 25% going toward specific grow the game programing.
Lastly we will be hosting our annual NJGDC fundraising tournament on August 15th. This will be to raise enough money to continue our year round training program and build on the framework we put in place this year. All proceeds will be directed right back into the program to help develop our Islands best players to reach their fullest capacities.
As you can see we are still building on the platforms we created and these programs are all really taking off. Our partnerships with Holland College and ADL are signs major organizations want to be affiliated with our programming and we are excited to show them value through the recognition we are receiving. Also on a special last note I am very excited that Nick Peters will be instrumental in helping us as our newest employee. As previously mentioned he has already been helping deliver the Golf in Schools program and will be a key figure in every one of our programs.
I will try and keep updates going throughout the summer but hopefully you will all start hearing about the things we are doing through the golf community anyhow.
Dallas Desjardins Provincial Golf Coach