Boosting younggolf talent

Through its Junior Golf programme, Oman Golf Committee offers children a unique opportunity to hone their golfing talent .

Golf is still in its infancy in Oman and for it to become an established sport there needs to be a strong local golfing population. Therefore Oman Golf Committee (OGC) has made it its mission to introduce golf to as many children as possible. OGC’s Junior Golf programmes are held three times a year at Almouj Golf, Muscat Hills and Ghala Valley Golf Club.

The Junior Golf programme is the first of many steps that will allow OGC to give children the chance to excel at the sport. Lee O’Donoghue, OGC member and head of subcommittee for Junior Golf says, “We have now been running the programme for three years and the results are better with Oman winning their first ever medals in the sport at the recent GCC championship. Every player in the team came through the Junior Programme. Next year OGC, with the support of their partners, will roll out the exciting next stages of the Junior Golf development strategy.”

Boys and girls at the age group of 6-16 are welcome to join, and the training programme cater for all skill levels – beginner, novices, intermediate and advanced. Each programme has 300 available slots categorised as follows:

  • Beginners’ sessions (taster sessions) – The group comprises eight children using the snag/soft golf equipment and the session will run for four weeks. The programme is free of charge.
  • Novices, intermediates, advanced groups will have six-eight children per group and the session will run for eight weeks. Each course will last 45 minutes with 15 min available for feedback and admin with parents. The total fee for the eight-week programme is RO25.

“The Junior Golf programme introduces children to all aspects of the game”, explains Alex Day, PGA head professional at Muscat Hills golf club. “It begins very much with the fundamentals and builds towards learning and practicing the basic playing skills – putting, short game, swing development and golf etiquette. In addition, the programme also includes physical and psychological benefits that are associated with the game. Whilst the most important element of the programme is for the children to have fun, golf also places a strong emphasis on standards of behaviour and is therefore a great way in which children can develop core personal skills – honesty, respect, co-operation, perseverance, concentration and self-motivation. These skills will help them through their youth and into adulthood when hopefully they’ll still be participating in this lifelong sport.”

Alex Day continues, “We believe that to see good development in children’s golf it’s vital to keep the sessions fresh. The structured programme, friendly environment, and quality academy facilities ensure their learning is both fun and comprehensive. PGA-qualified instructors use their experience and knowledge to motivate the children through the achievement of attainable targets when hopefully they’ll reach a level to start working towards first handicap.”

Nurtured from the Junior Golf programme are young talented golfers in the Oman junior national team. The junior national team players have earlier shown great potential by finishing second at the 17th GCC championship on home soil in February, 2013. Next mission is to represent the Sultanate at the 14th Arab Amateur Championship to be held in Port el Kantaoui. In preparation for the championship the team has undergone training with the national team coach and Almouj PGA pro Marcus Casey.

The three young talented and dedicated golfers to team up for the Sultanate in the U15 category are: Rashad al Harthy, Hamood al Harthy and Fahad al Kitani. In category U18, OGC will send Ahmed al Balushi, his last competition as a junior, and one of the future talents for the national senior team. The players are getting ready to perform at their best at one of the most prominent regional tournaments.

Mundhir Al Barwani, chairman of OGC, says, “I am confident that together with experiences gained from participating at the GCC championship earlier this year, our young national junior team will grow and develop their talent and play at their best in future championships. During the training and preparation, our junior team has shown significant improvements and I’m confident that they will do well in the future. This opportunity will further sharpen their skills to continue presenting their nation, Oman. I wish them all the success in a very competitive environment and I’m confident that they will do their best to grasp the best results.”

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