Gordon on Golf

Grow the game, coach in the community

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Grow the game (Bernard Brault/ Golf Canada)

If you love golf and you hear the PGA of Canada’s technical director describe it as “just another sport,” you may be, at the least, dismayed and, maybe, shocked.

But don’t worry. It’s all good, and for the betterment of the game.

Glenn Cundari has been integral in the development of the Long Term Player Development program (LTPD) for golf in Canada. And integral to the program itself is the new Community Golf Coach concept which was designed by the PGA of Canada in conjunction with the Coaching Association of Canada and Golf Canada.

“The previous Future Links Leader program was flawed and, as a result, largely unsuccessful,” says Cundari. “So we stepped back, had a fresh look, retooled the whole concept, and the result is pretty exciting.”

The LTPD’s Community Sport Stream is a phase of development where participants are being initiated into the game. The stream is aimed at supporting children from six to 12 years old. In most other sports, properly trained volunteers are core leaders in the early development of young participants. That’s what Cundari means when he says golf has to be addressed as “just another sport.” Now, in line with most of those other sports, golf has recognized that in order to be more accessible, volunteers must be at the heart of the model.

This grassroots level of leadership is open to individuals who are not members of the PGA of Canada. They must complete a two-day workshop with both classroom and outdoor components to enable them to deliver the CN Future Links Learn To Play program. As a result, they will play a vital role in supporting other volunteers and PGA of Canada members at club-level junior programs by assisting with the administration and/or delivery of the program.

“There are ideal candidates for this program right across the country,” says Cundari. “They are parents or other passionate people who likely are already helping out with junior programs at courses that may or may not have a PGA of Canada professional. The fact of the matter is that there just aren’t enough PGA of Canada professionals to successfully engage all the kids who want to play golf, so that’s where the Community Golf Coach comes in. Let’s give them proper training and let them facilitate that first step into a lifetime of golf.”

Becoming a Community Golf Coach incorporates the following:

Roll out of the new Community Golf Coach program has begun across Canada.

To find out how you can become part of this exciting new program, contact Matt Allen, the PGA of Canada’s education coordinator, at 1-800-782-5764 ext. 236 or email matt@pgaofcanada.com.