SINGAPORE - With greater focus being placed on developing junior golf in Singapore, the role of the Youth Golf Programme (YGP) has become increasingly important in the local scene.
It will compliment the efforts of the Singapore Golf Association (SGA), which this year formed a new junior squad for golfers aged nine to 14, noted former national golfer and YGP alumni Joey Poh.
The 24-year-old added: "The YGP helps that effort by expanding the player base and allowing for more talent to be spotted."
She and fellow YGP alumnus Leverett Chua took part in Wednesday's (Oct 11) fundraiser held at Sentosa Golf Cub by the Youth Golf Network, which manages the YGP.
More than $240,000 was raised and the funds will help cover the costs of professional training for the students and the organisation of the Community Youth Golf League, an annual three-leg competition involving the scheme's member schools.
The SGA is organising its inaugural Junior Golf Day next month, featuring a nine-hole tournament for current and prospective junior squad members.
"I'm quite happy to see more initiatives for junior golf here. During my time there were not so many and I mostly competed in amateur tournaments overseas," said Chua, 18, who is currently studying at Singapore Polytechnic but has plans to turn pro eventually.
"So to be able to start (competing) in Singapore will definitely help golfers improve from a younger age."
The YGP, which is into its 21st year, is the brainchild of the late Tay Cheng Khoon, former sports editor of The Straits Times.
It was started in 1997 to introduce youngsters without the means to own golf club memberships to the sport and has benefited close to 5,000 students since its inception.
Among its alumni included recent SEA Games men's team champion Joshua Shou, multiple Games medallist Koh Sock Hwee and touring pro Johnson Poh.
Said YGP chairman Janice Khoo: "You can see the difference in those who have graduated and matured. They have made golf a part of their lives."