Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Golf clubs encouraged to change status quo

Golf Victoria's regional development manager has encouraged golf clubs in the Goulburn Valley to look at different ways to get people playing the sport.

MATTHEW GALEA May 7, 2014 3:22am

Shepparton's Andy Kendall smacks one off the tee during Sunday's Frank Bush Memorial mixed Yankee tournament at Kialla.

Golf Victoria made its presence felt at Kialla Golf Club on Sunday.

Regional development manager Mark Bamford was at the club to take part in Sunday’s Frank Bush Memorial mixed Yankee tournament, as he begins his work with the Goulburn Valley Golf District.

A laptop was donated to the club, while Bamford also spoke to the committee about the sorts of programs Golf Victoria was hoping to implement to develop the game in regional areas.

Although he has only been in the role a short time, Bamford said it was clear to see that the biggest issue facing regional golf clubs was participation.

‘‘The traditional model of having members play on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the changing lifestyles of members is making it harder and harder,’’ Bamford said.

‘‘It’s about finding different ways to encourage people to play and take up memberships with the clubs.

‘‘Clubs have to challenge the model and get into the schools to encourage greater participation, and foster a nurturing club atmosphere for beginners and youngsters.’’

The visit was Bamford’s first to Kialla, and follows previous visits to Shepparton, Tocumwal, Mooroopna and Rich River golf clubs, and he has been impressed by the quality of courses.

‘‘It’s a very strong district with some great courses. The Goulburn Valley is very lucky,’’ Bamford said.

‘‘In my home town of Bendigo, we don’t have courses like here and the Goulburn Valley has a strong basis on the representative front as well, so it’s got a strong base.’’

Bamford said it was also pleasing to see the Frank Bush Memorial won by promising junior Taylor Bicknell, who partnered Beryl Krake in the tournament.

‘‘That was great to see. He’s a part of the Goulburn Valley District junior side, so it’s nice to see that the work being put in to juniors is paying off,’’ Bamford said.

Kialla Golf Club’s Ross Campbell said although it was only in its fourth year, the Frank Bush Memorial had quickly become one of the club’s biggest events.

‘‘We had 68 players on the day, which we thought was pretty good ... and it was great to have Mark there playing as well,’’ Campbell said.

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