The Rotorua Golf Club is breaking barriers by establishing a community golf coaching school which can be easily accessed thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Rotorua Trust.
The funding from the Trust will help employ Paul Hartstone, a well-known and highly qualified coach who will run a free golf clinic three days a week.
Rotorua Golf Club Chairman, Leith Comer, says the purpose of the coaching school is to attract a diverse range of the Rotorua community to learn and take up golf, with a particular emphasis on young Māori.
This comes after the Rotorua Golf Club land was transferred from the Crown to Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, as representatives of the original Ngāti Whakaue owners.
Comer says the club is using the change of ownership to encourage more of the local community to get involved.
“The land was gifted by Ngāti Whakaue and we have an obligation to invite people to come and play on it. We want golf to be easily accessible for a larger proportion of the community, particularly young Māori.”
He says the club aims to make the sport more accessible through three initiatives; by providing a coaching service for beginners, reducing the cost of membership fees and showing new members that the Rotorua Golf Club is friendly and inclusive.
The training school welcomes youth and their parents, encouraging the whole whānau to get involved, Mr Comer says.
“We want to make these clinics a welcoming space. Everyone should have the opportunity to play golf, regardless of their financial situation. Golf brings people together and can be enjoyed by all.”
Mr Comer says through golf, players have the potential to develop discipline and good manners by learning the rules and etiquette required on the course.
“I believe golf is a developer of character; it brings people together and is good for our community. Not to mention sport is a good distraction for young people and keeps them out of trouble.”
He says the clinics have been well received so far, with large numbers coming along to give golf a go.
He says without funding from the Trust, the club wouldn’t have had the resources to be able to run the clinics.
“We are thrilled Rotorua Trust is funding this initiative as we believe it will have great outcomes for our community.”
Rotorua Trust Chairman Stewart Edward says the programme provides a unique golfing experience a wide range of people can enjoy.
“This is a great initiative that will help break barriers for young people by making the sport more affordable.
“We hope to see it bring youth in our community together at a time where staying connected has never been so important.”
If you would like to attend a clinic, call Rotorua Golf Club shop on (07) 348 4051.