Finding activities that engage students from a range of cultures and backgrounds can be difficult, but after introducing our students to golf we knew we had found the one.
In 2016 we opted to give our predominantly refugee-based school population an opportunity to try a new sport, so we formed decided a golf team through a trail process, based loosely on our football squads that had been created in the past.
We opened the opportunity to anyone in the school community. The interest we received was outstanding, so we ran after-school golf sessions for anyone who wanted to have a hit and we chose the “more accurate hitters” to make up our first school team to compete in the Geelong Secondary School Sports Association tournament.
Unfortunately, the event was rained out and we were unable to participate, but we created enough interest in the sport from both staff and students for it to be included in the curriculum.
This year we went a step further and introduced a golf program into our Year 10 curriculum so every Year 10 student would do a three-week block of golf (6-9 hours of actual skill sessions).
To aid the golf programs, we purchased two MyGolf equipment kits and our PE staff have each been trained in their use.
We’ve adapted our cricket pitch (in the centre of the footy oval) as our “putting green” and with its cracks and uneven surfaces, it is really quite challenging – as our students will attest!
Recently we struck up a “partnership” with nearby Geelong Golf Club, where we can take Year 10 students to the practice fairway during class times; it’s a 30-minute walk, so it’s not always practical because we don’t have a school bus, but we’re working on it and hoping to even use the four holes nearest the clubhouse to play a “mini round” at some stage after winter.
We have run two “nearest the pin” competitions during lunchtimes when competitors pay 50c to play a ball 80m to a flag. So far we’ve paid off our golf kit purchases!!
I’ve had a lot of help from other staff within the school – Courtney McCullough, IT support, and Fran Forsyth, sports co-ordinator – and if we continue, golf will be a favourite summer sport for many of our future students.
Good luck to all schools that might be planning a golf program; I highly recommend it!