Golf Growth and Development

Since taking up the position as Provincial Golf Coach I have been trying to lay the proper groundwork to continue to bring golf into as many hands as possible. Realizing the necessity for more education before this venture I updated my own knowledge and am currently Instructor Beginner and Instructor Intermediate certified and Coach Developing Competitor trained which is necessary to be a coach of Canada Games Athletes. Upon being trained I laid my plans for growing the game of golf in Prince Edward Island and for developing elite competitive players on the Island. Although a little backwards this year due to the coming Canada Games I believe this platform to be the best way to increase golfers through Prince Edward Island and start developing players to compete on the highest levels in golf. Akin to Golf Canada’s model the platform works as a pyramid creating a large pool of players to better our chances of high performing athletes at the top. It looks something like this;

 

 

It has only been two months but a tremendous amount of work has been put into laying the foundation and an update through April 15th is as follows.

 

Canada Games

 

Upon returning from CDC training we sent out a call to athletes interested in trying out for the Canada Games team. 22 Athletes showed interest and the qualifying stages were presented in a meeting. In essence we wanted to test all the athletes to look at potential and carry a developmental team forward. We expressed that although we felt the final team of 3 males and 3 females would be composed from the development team the actual qualifying would take place through 6 rounds in June and anyone would be eligible to try as long as they met Canada Games requirements.

 

We thoroughly tested each athlete through TPI video analysis and TPI motion screens and put all athletes through a basic strength test. We ended up selecting 14 athletes we felt had the best potential and will be following up with the 10 that did not make the selection to express areas we feel needed work in order to compete in June. Since selecting the 14 we had a few practice sessions to get an idea of each player as we progress towards creating a training schedule. We will be starting intensive training mid April with 3 to 4 sessions per week through June. This will include 5 mental coaching sessions from Tara Costello, twice a week strength training from Brad Carragher and Wyatt Inman, and golf instruction with guidance from their own instructors. The plan is to peak August 12th so in actuality the players will still be in a strengthening phase when they are qualifying for the team but with the depth of talent on this development team they should prevail and the top 6 should be able to finish their training cycle through until Canada Games. 

 

John Schurman has been instrumental in this and should be given a lot of credit for volunteering his time for these athletes. We have also had tremendous support from Holland College and while we have been paying for professional help through this they have been very kind to let us use their facilities at no expense. 

 

With the athletes we are currently training I am very excited to see team PEI competes with the best in the country.

 

Junior Order of Merit

 

The 2013 schedule for the junior order of merit is moments away from being complete and the lineup looks great. Our goal is to increase the professionalism of the events and try and give back to the courses to express our appreciation of letting us use their facilities. This year an official will be at every event and we are finalizing a sponsor to help with costs associated. We are going to ensure pace of play is adhered to and that all players respect the facility at all times. The junior order of merit will provide a good platform for junior golfers to gain experience playing competitive golf and will be the source of qualifying for the Atlantic Future Links and Golf Canada Junior Championships. 

 

Our goal is to run a professional tour on every level so sponsors will be proud to support and facilities will want to host events.

 

Golf in Schools

 

This is the base of our pyramid and right now the most important to promote a steady flow of golfers over the future years. My original goal was to hit 8 schools which I still want to do this year but with the realized time to properly implement at each school we will be going to 4 this year. We are spending a full week in each school and after original reaching out to 12 these are the only 4 that had interest to participate. They are Cardigan, Alberton, O’Leary and West Kent. To date John Schurman and I have taught 36 classes reaching 265 elementary students and we are only halfway through our schedule. As the base is the most important part of any pyramid the plan is to continue once golf season starts winding down in the fall and eventually bring the program to every elementary school on the Island within the next 3 years. We are also doing an after school program at the Boys and Girls Club and reached 125 juniors through that program as well.

 

The goal after delivering the program in a school is to have the teachers implement it in their curriculum for future year and Ryan Garret at Golf Links has been very supportive and sponsored some schools around the Island already. Ideally every school will eventually have their own kit and this program will become a part of their curriculum achieving the outcome of learning a striking sport.

 

National Junior Golf Development Centre

 

One of Golf Canada’s goals is to set up at least one National Junior Golf Development Centre in each province by 2013. These centres will better educate the pathways golf has and promote a recreational playing side and a competitive playing side. The recreational side will educate on how to play wee for a lifetime maintaining a proper swing and healthy lifestyle. The competitive side will have integrated support teams to train athletes better to achieve higher levels in golf. The goal of the competitive side will be to make the centres team which will compete with other golf teams in the region. The team will also be tracked using the national database sporting DNA. It is this database the national coaches and college recruiters look at for athletes. This will open the door to possibilities our athletes are not used to which will be welcoming for our Island.

 

To become a National Junior Golf Development Centre the venue has to have individuals highly trained in coaching. Only two courses on the Island had the potential to become a National Centre and they were the ones that employed Anne Chouinard and Dallas Desjardins. I am very excited to announce after much paperwork and applications Summerside Golf Club will officially be a National Junior Golf Development Centre. The transition will be very easy for this facility as it has to deliver the Future Links junior program and enter all juniors in the database which this club already does every year. Now with some help from the national level new knowledge gained will help this centre develop some of the best athletes in the country.

 

 

Helping Facilities

 

From the outset our belief was that if we all help grow and promote the game we will all benefit. To this end we offered to help any facility that needed it help in running any golf growth and development programs. One golf course has since taken our offer and John Schurman and Dallas Desjardins will be running the junior programming and beginner ladies program at the Red Sands Golf Club. We hope to create some new eager golfers that will start playing all our great Island courses.

 

Fundraising

 

Since these goals are very lofty we needed a plan to raise some funds. I have been in preliminary talks with a national company which seems very eager with our new platform and ideas and wants to be a big part of it. To minimize the risk of losing this potential partner I will reserve comment until finalized and all I will say I am very hopeful this will come to fruition.

 

Next Steps

 

Although a lot of work has been done there is plenty to go and what lies next is continuing to bring the game to as many hands as possible. We will be looking to hold a minimum of 6 Future Links Mobile sights shortly and John Schurman will be delivering all those programs. We will also help any more courses that may require help running an Active Future Links program and help with any beginner ladies programs or get golf ready programs.

 

Summary

 

It will be a very busy summer as any time such a huge project is started there is a lot of groundwork to be laid. Our goal is to start the process to successfully grow and promote the game through the Island. The more participants we have and the more excitement created around golf our feeling is the better off our facilities will be. 

 

Dallas Desjardins

Provincial Golf Coach

PEIGA