• Hidden Valley and the value of connection

By Serrin Bertino

An hour’s drive north of Melbourne, two Australian Golf Foundation (AGF) Junior Girls Golf Scholarship-funded clubs and a group of participants are enjoying the power of ‘connection.’

Junior District Coordinator and Club President of Hidden Valley Golf Club, Jon Blackwell knew the key ingredient to retain girls in golf.

“Connection, interaction and comradeship is so important to keep girls in golf,” he said.

“Girls come and try the sport but without many other girls involved, they soon fall away.”

Whilst the club had attracted five girls to the program in its inaugural year, Blackwell knew that just 10 minutes up the road, Kilmore Golf Club also had six girls in its program.

With both clubs sharing the same PGA Professional, Nathan Roberts, an opportunity for collaboration existed as one club runs the program on a Saturday and the other on Sunday.

“If the girls miss a lesson at one club, they can attend the other club’s session,” Blackwell said.

“This creates more opportunity for girls to make friends and see that many other girls are playing too.” Bea Lay, Club President at Kilmore Golf Club is also happy with this arrangement.

“We are lucky we share the same PGA Professional so the girls can move from course-to-course,” she said.

There are now plans to bring the girls from both clubs together at the end of each term. “Bringing these girls together to form a larger group is an important process to keep the girls engaged,” Bea said. For Hidden Valley, this is not the first time the club has partnered with other local clubs.

“We have reached out to other clubs in the past to field junior pennant teams. This has enabled juniors to have the opportunity to play when they would not have,” said Blackwell.

Hidden Valley and Kilmore clubs encourage others to look into connecting and providing girls with more opportunity to meet other girls, whether this is on a regular basis or once per school term. Australian Golf Foundation is the national foundation for golf in Australia.

The AGF supports Golf Australia’s vision to grow golf by investing in targeted initiatives to inspire all Australians to enjoy and play the game. Find a local scholarship program near you. Visit australiangolffoundation.org.au for further information.

Australian Golf Foundation is thrilled to partner with NEXTGEN Group as the principal partner of the AGF Scholarship Programme in 2022, with significant further support provided by Golf Australia, Golf Victoria, Victorian Golf Foundation, Golf Queensland, Golf South Australia, Golf Tasmania, Golf Western Australia, Western Australian Golf Foundation, Golf Northern Territory, Golf Management Australia, WPGA Tour of Australasia and PGA of Australia, as well as a number of additional generous private benefactors.

The scholarship program has come to fruition thanks to the foresight and generosity of Bonnie Boezeman AO, Director of the Australian Golf Foundation, who originally established the program at Killara Golf Club, NSW.

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