Golf: Youth Golf Programme still going strong after 20 years

St Gabriel’s Secondary School’s Brandon Han hitting a drive at Orchid Country Club yesterday. The Sec 3 student was the boys’ division leader after the first leg of the 2017 Community Youth Golf League, carding a gross score of 73.
St Gabriel’s Secondary School’s Brandon Han hitting a drive at Orchid Country Club yesterday. The Sec 3 student was the boys’ division leader after the first leg of the 2017 Community Youth Golf League, carding a gross score of 73. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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 gross score of 73.

“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, 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 gross score of 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 training sessions, it also develops golfers in areas such as sports psychology and endurance.

Said Hai Sing Sec 4 student Cheang Kai Siong, 16, who had a gross score of 82: “Golf is 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 their 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 golfer from Australia.

Efforts have been made to promote junior golf here recently.

Four promising juniors were invited by the Singapore Professional Golfers’ Association to take part in the Totts Golf Invitational 2017, a three-day pro event that began yesterday at the Sembawang Country Club.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline 'Youth Golf Programme still going strong after 20 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe