Youth Golf Programme going strong after 20 years

Brandon Zhen Guang Han, leader of the 1st leg of the 2017 Community Youth Golf League held at Orchid Country Club.
Brandon Zhen Guang Han, leader of the 1st leg of the 2017 Community Youth Golf League held at Orchid Country Club. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Lester Wong (ext 5368 hp 91905932(

The Youth Golf Programme (YGP) was started in 1997 with the aim of introducing youngsters without the means to own golf club memberships to the sport.

Two decades on, the programme continues to do just that, with the first leg of the 2017 Community Youth Golf League getting underway yesterday at Orchid Country Club .

A total of 56 golfers aged 14 to 16 from six secondary schools took part.

The boys' division leader after the first leg was Brandon Han from St. Gabriel's Secondary School, who fired a net score of 71.

"The YGP gives us the opportunity to play more on course and with our friends. We can get quite competitive as well," said the Secondary 3 student, 15, who has a handicap of 1.4.

"Overall, I thought my performance was okay today. My short game was good and I managed to recover well from some bad shots."

Girls' leader Joveanne Kuah, who is also a Sec 3 student at Hai Sing Catholic School, felt she could have done better on the day.

"I was solid with my driver today but I wasn't as good with the irons," said the 17-handicapper, who shot a 94.

"Under the programme, I've improved my shot-making as well as my distance game."

The second and final legs of the annual competition will be played on July 3 and Sept 4 respectively.

The YGP is the brainchild of the late Tay Cheng Khoon, the former sports editor at The Straits Times.

It currently has 181 golfers enrolled across four proficiency levels. Besides regular training sessions, it also develops golfers in areas such as sports psychology and endurance.

Said Cheang Kai Siong, 16, who finished three strokes behind Brandon: "Golf is really about the mind, and I'm learning how to be focused all the time on the course."

Together with Joveanne, he is one of about 40 students enrolled in the YGP from Hai Sing. Above half of those students do not have a club membership, according to teacher-in-charge Lee Mei Ling.

This year, the YGP received a donation of more than $40,000 from the Adam Scott Foundation, a charity established by the former world No. 1 Australian golfer.

Efforts have been made to promote junior golf here recently.

Four promising juniors were invited by the Singapore Professional Golfers' Association (SPGA) to take part in a three-day pro event that began yesterday.

The Totts Golf Invitational 2017 is taking place at Sembawang Country Club.

lesterw@sph.com.sg