Golf: Player development at the core of Singapore Golf Association's initiatives for 2018

Singapore Golf Association president Ross Tan speaking at a press conference announcing the training programmes aimed at raising the standards of golf, at Sentosa Golf Club on Jan 10, 2018.
Singapore Golf Association president Ross Tan speaking at a press conference announcing the training programmes aimed at raising the standards of golf, at Sentosa Golf Club on Jan 10, 2018.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Looking to build on the success of 2017 which saw Singapore golf win its first SEA Games gold in 28 years, the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) announced on Wednesday (Jan 10) its game plan for the new year aimed at raising the standards of golf here from the junior to professional ranks.

The association unveiled the training programmes for the three tiers of the national set-up (elite, development and junior) and the three part-time national coaches who will replace former head coach Andrew Welsford, who stepped down from his role last October.

Veteran pro and Singapore-based Australian Scott Barr will handle the elite squads (the national team), with former top amateurs and touring pros Goh Kun Yang and Justin Han overseeing the development and junior squads.

The revamped training programmes will see the elite squads receive scenario-based training that replicate competition conditions in a bid to better prepare national players as well as more frequent and intensive training sessions for the development and junior squads, among other changes.

The development tier was introduced last July as an intermediate level between the national team and the juniors, aimed at providing specialised, more intensive training and more competitive opportunities for promising young golfers aged between nine and 14.

"The SEA Games (gold medal) was really a high for us and it is for the sort of occasion that we at SGA are gathering our talent younger and training them harder," said SGA president Ross Tan at Sentosa Golf Club after a video of the SEA Games triumph was screened.

"To all the young golfers here, I would like to tell you that there will be a lot of hard work for sure, but the SGA will be here to provide all the support we can give."

 

SGA's high performance manager and acting general manager Jerome Ng stressed that the national set-up and coaching system were not intended to replace players' own coaches.

"We are focusing more on scenario-based training, players' short games and their decision-making. So it's about how we can help develop golfers and take them to the next level," he said.

The SGA also announced the formation of an overseas squad that will provide support for and track the performances of top amateurs based abroad, and a new Rookie Professionals programme that the association hopes will smoothen the often bumpy transition from the amateur to the professional ranks.