Golf discovery and introduction
As part of its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, Golf Québec is renewing its commitment to promote the implementation of programs in the " introduction " and " excellence " pillars.
For children's introduction, we are relying on the sport discovery initiatives of the national Future Links program as well as on the components of the provincial First Drive program. Junior Golf Development Centres (JGDC) and community coaches are important resources. Beginners can count on them to know where to play and where to learn in order to move up the sport development ladder at their own pace.
Future Links driven by Acura, a national structure
Since 1995, Future Links has been helping young golfers develop their technique and acquire a positive attitude and self-confidence that will guarantee their success on the course while teaching them life lessons that they will benefit from every day. In twenty-four years, the program has been developed and now consists of several components.
Golf in Schools
Created in 2009, Golf in Schools is part of the large Future Links family. It was designed to allow physical educators to offer children an introduction to golf in their classes.
For the third year, Golf Canada organized an Adopt a School Week. This national initiative is designed to encourage the golf community to adopt schools to facilitate access to the program.
In Québec, thanks to the financial support of many partners and other donations, we now have 628 elementary, 9 intermediate and 79 high schools. Their students had the chance to discover golf and all the physical skills associated with it.
As part of the Get Linked strategies, Golf Québec and Golf Canada also provided
grants so that some of the participating schools could enhance their
activities. With 48 professional visits
and 8 Future Links field trips, more
children were able to put their new skills to the test on the turf.
Management tools for golf clubs
Future Links also provides golf facilities with interactive tools to manage their junior programs. Through their discovery of golf, girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 18 also learn integrity, honesty, sportsmanship and a sense of responsibility. This year, 74 instructors across member facilities were actively using these modules.
Junior Skills Challenge
Finally, a series of Junior Skill Challenges allows youth from 9 to 18 to qualify in their club, depending on their age category, to compete in the national event presented at the end of the season. This year, Émile Journault, a young member of the Cap-Rouge golf club, was crowned in the 15-18 year-old boys' category.
In addition, the regional associations of Montréal and Québec City also offer a Skills Challenge presented to their young participants in collaboration with the Optimist clubs. These are popular and fun activities in which many spectators have the pleasure of discovering the golfing talent of our local young athletes.
First Drive, a Québec-based initiative
Since 2009, to promote accessibility to sport and family participation, First Drive has been inviting young people aged 7 to 12 to play for free in participating clubs if they are accompanied by an adult who pays his or her regular green fee. This year, some 15 clubs contributed in this way to creating a golf community accessible to children.
Each of our regional associations enhances this program with an activity tour. Playing conditions are lightened to allow young participants to have fun playing a 9-hole round. Gradually, the First Drive Tour also leads them to discover the activities that Golf Québec and regional associations offer at a higher level of play.
Junior Golf Development Centres (JGDC)
A network of Junior Golf Development Centres (JGDC) has been in existence in Canada since 2013. CDGJs offer golfers aged 5 to 18 a clear development path with the help of a coach. This systematic approach to junior development benefits players and their families, coaches and golf facilities alike.
CDGJ designation is renewable annually. It ensures that athletes are provided
with the best possible services to perform and acquire high-level skills. CDGJs
also encourage participants to play golf throughout their lives. Our thirteen
(13) CDGJs for 2019 were: Chicoutimi, Cowansville, Gray Rocks, Club
Laval-sur-le-Lac, Le Mirage, Le Versant, Les Cèdres, Lévis, Lorette, Royal
Québec, Stoneham, Vallée du Richelieu, and Venise.
Creating Golf Communities
For many golf clubs, economic revival involves a family policy and a younger vision.
Les Cèdres golf club is an excellent example of this community approach. Each year, professional François Bernard and owner Serge Nadeau adopt a few elementary schools in their region and then revisit them to ensure that the introductory golf program is well integrated into physical education classes.
Then, they make sure to offer activities of the appropriate calibre in their facility so that the youngsters can use their acquired skills on the course.
Community Golf Coaches
As not all clubs have a designated and certified golf professional, the PGA of Canada introduced a Community Golf Coach program in 2017. It is open to anyone who wishes to work with children or youth to teach them basic golf skills. You do not need to be a professional or a PGA member to take the course.
In 2019, eight (8) new individuals were trained, bringing the number of Québec certified community golf coaches to 110. There is no doubt that they are playing an increasingly important role in the golf communities that are taking shape across the province.
Development of Sport Participation
As children are the future clientele, their introduction to golf is a very important part of our development programs. However, we keep in mind that many adults would be interested in golf if given the opportunity. This is why Golf Québec offers them a variety of recreational activities.
Just as physical activity is an essential element in maintaining good health and general well-being, it goes without saying that golf is also beneficial to mental health by offering its participants not only a moment of relaxation in nature, but also an opportunity to socialize and break isolation. With so many benefits, why do without it?