Junior golf program teed up
A NEW deal between the McKern Foundation and the Bendigo Golf Club is in the works, designed to unearth the next generation of golf stars.
Manager of Bendigo Golf Club Liam Carney said the collaboration will see junior golf clinics subsidised by the foundation, with group sessions available for players of all skill levels.
“It’ll be for all abilities and then we can develop squads which is something we’ll look at for those that want to move into that more competitive style of golf, but it’s about that interaction with every ability,” he said.
“We’ll be looking at junior programs, also school holiday programs, interaction and transition from social to a club environment as well.”
Mr Carney said he has seen an increase in golf participation across all age groups since regional Victoria came out of lockdown but COVID-19 restrictions meant many team sports have been put on pause or cancelled.
He said the benefits of golf stretch further than the sport, as the game encourages respect and manners.
“There’s been an uptake there in all ages, but certainly we want to develop, in conjunction with the McKern Foundation, that junior program which we see as the future and helping society and developing great people,” he said.
Robert Cook from the McKern Foundation said through the program they hope to inspire the next Lucas Herbert, who is currently ranked 45 in the world and won the Irish Open in April.
“The average age of golf membership is something like 60, we’ve got to now try and get younger people in to play golf,” he said.
“With young Lucas Herbert, he came from Bendigo, and it’s suddenly given a lot of exposure that there are opportunities for young people to take golf to the next level.”
Director of the McKern Foundation Michael McKern said they are committed to promoting active and healthy lifestyles for young people, helping deliver fresh fruit to up to 11,000 students across Central Victoria every week and providing scholarships to young athletes through the Bendigo Sports Star Awards.
“We’re delighted that Liam took up the challenge and joined with us in helping promote that junior sport around town, we live in a different world nowadays and we need to think differently,” he said.
“We see a need or a whole in the community somewhere and we try to fill it up… we’re really looking forward to this one.”