Central Highlands kids putt, pitch, chip and drive
KIDS from all over the Central Highlands teed off last week in a bid to improve their short game, get out of the bunker, avoid the water trap and make new friends in the process.
The Emerald Golf Club hosted its My Golf program for the second year running in what was a vastly improved clinic this time.
More than 70 kids and teenagers from the region gathered with four out of eight golf clubs represented through Springsure, Blackwater, Clermont and Emerald for the two-day camp.
Participation development manager for Golf Queensland Adrian Hewat praised kids from the bush, saying they are "often keener to learn" and "are more physically ready".
"They are always really keen to learn and their skill levels and physical abilities are generally a lot better than city kids," Hewat said.
"Numbers are definitely up this year for sure and we have kids from four out of the eight golf clubs of the region, which is good."
The clinic's initial aim was talent identification, but for the younger kids it was the opportunity to meet new friends and learn golf in a fun environment.
"Basically we are looking to work with grassroots juniors as well as the talented older kids from regional Queensland," he said.
"If we are talking about the younger kids, I think it's more the opportunity to meet new friends and have some fun and learn golf in that typically fun type of environment.
"For the older kids though, it is probably more skills-based.
"Central Highlands has been a pretty successful area for us in terms of junior development, they have a great program here at the Emerald golf club."
Emerald Junior Golf president Tim Mullins said the event in Emerald was the first clinic that had been run off the coast.
"In the past we have had to send our children away to golfing academies in Brisbane," Mullins said.
"Junior golf has been very disconnected between here and the city so these clinics are trying to change that. If we keep this going year after year then the coaches will be able to see these kids for a number of years in their development stage.
"Having these state coaches come out here is great. I think we are the first club off the coast to have a clinic like this.
"That's the big benefit."
Professional golfer 25-year-old Tarquin MacManus is one player who hailed from the bush who kids could aspire to be. The Cairns-born golfer was over in the United States plying his trade on the pro circuit.
Central Highlands clubs
My Golf attendees
Emerald Golf Club
Blackwater Country Club
Springsure Golf Club
Clermont Golf Club