Visually and geographically, it’s about as far removed from Augusta National as possible, but the stunning backdrop could inspire any number of Masters dreams.
MyGolf has been delivered at some impressive venues, but nothing can compare to the two programs held throughout Term 3 at two of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.
Students of Mutitjulu School, at the base of Uluru, and Watarrka School, in Watarrka National Park and the site of Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory, had the chance to learn golf skills surrounded by scenery more regularly seen on postcards than golf courses.
Tahlia Rutherford, School Sports co-ordinator for the Alice Springs region and new to coaching golf, delivered several sessions at each school, introducing skills through fun games adapted to the challenging environment.
“The schools are a bit limited when it comes to flat, hard surfaces. At the Watarrka School, the playground is mostly sand,” Rutherford said. “So with this in mind, I went straight into chipping activities with the students and they had a great time chipping to each other and trying to catch the ball.
“At Mutitjulu, students focused on putting and we teamed up the older students in Years 5 and 6 with the younger students. The older students helped the younger students with their technique and encouraged them if they missed the ball. The groups took it in turns to putt through each other’s legs into a hole.”
With limited access to structured sporting programs, the schools and students relished the opportunity to try something new and took to golf with great interest.
“Overall my first golf sessions out in communities was a positive experience for everyone. It is really great to offer students different sporting opportunities that they may never get living so remotely,” Rutherford said.
The Mutitjulu school program was capped with an excursion to Alice Springs Golf Club where the students were able to put their new skills to the test on one of Australia’s most famous golf courses.
And hopes are high that the children will continue to tinker with golf as they grow.
“It’s all about taking that first step and being exposed to a great sport … who knows what could come of it one day,” Rutherford said.