After completing the Community Instructor course in late 2015, I was very keen to get the MyGolf program in schools up and running at my school – Melton Specialist School. Being a school at which students have a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities, safety was an issue. But it wasn’t going to be a deterrent to give my students an opportunity to try a sport many of them haven’t had the chance to enjoy.
To get things started we ordered the equipment kits and I was extremely pleased with the contents when they arrived within a few days. The next step was to download the MyGolf Coaching Resource App on to my iPad. This gave me everything I needed to run the program.
Because of building works in the school, I decided to start the program in my gallery, a small gym area about the size of two classrooms. To do this I used the equipment supplied in the kits but purchased some soft, large balls that would not damage the walls or students. It also helped some connect with the balls more quickly.
First up, we practised the swing and basically got the students developing the ability to hit the ball. I was very big on safety and made sure I had clear markings where students had to stand when hitting the ball and when watching activities.
After several weeks we moved outside to an oval behind the school. I then worked through the lesson plans outlined in the MyGolf app and over a six-week period, the students really developed their skills and enjoyed all activities, which was fantastic.
At the completion of the program, I approached Melton Golf Club and Keilor Golf Club and organised for the middle and later-year students to take part in four-week programs with the pros from the clubs. Over this period, the students practised driving, putting and were even filmed to view their swings.
Over a six-week period, I was impressed at how keen the students were and how their golfing ability improved. Bearing in mind that we had limited space, I was extremely pleased at how the students coped with the program.
The students really loved this experience and we were able to discover some hidden natural golf talent in some of our students. We even have one student taking additional lessons and actively trying to improve her golf expertise at the local club.
Later in the year, I plan to revisit golf with the students. I will also take a group to my local golf club and we plan to play a formal game.
I would encourage all schools to get a teacher to complete the Community Instructor online course, order the gear and get out there and start teaching golf.
I would also like to congratulate Golf Victoria and Golf Australia for providing such a wonderful program. The app for the iPad makes teaching golf very easy and the games hold the interest of all students – including those with disabilities – so that is extremely valuable.