For the juniors, it’s a can of Pringles on the putting green that serves as the reward for the winner of the putting competition at the end of each MyGolf clinic.
For the ladies she works with at Flagstaff Hill Golf Club in the Adelaide Hills, the ‘Chip and Sip’ sessions are the perfect blend of skill acquisition and social interaction.
The golf and pilates weekend she hosted at Links Lady Bay provided couples with the opportunity to indulge in their favourite leisure activity and enjoy a taste of that of their partner’s.
Whether working with adult beginners or children through the MyGolf and Sporting Schools programs, Sarah Douglass-Norris is focused on fun.
“I love the new golfers,” says Douglass-Norris, who played on the Ladies European Tour for five years and spent 10 years living in France.
“I think I approach it in a very fun way because I was a Japanese teacher in my previous life and I know that kids and adults learn through fun and engagement.
“I try and make it fun. I try and make them feel at ease and happy. I let them know that golf is a skill that is maybe not as easy as some of the other sports but it is doable and if you keep practising and engage with a group of people your own age and in a fun environment and a little bit casual with the clothing, it can be done and you can have a lot of fun.”
Douglass-Norris returned to the coaching ranks last year after a stint running a café with her husband Simon.
With two children of her own engaging with juniors has become a particular passion and one where she feels she can have the greatest impact.
In February she began coaching six girls funded through the Australian Golf Foundation Junior Girls Scholarship program and earlier this year took on the golf coaching duties at Henley High School in Adelaide.
But it is opening the door to the game to those who may not have had access previously that excites Douglass-Norris most.
“I’ve got a girl from Warriappendi School who showed amazing potential. She blew my mind,” she says.
“At her second lesson she picked up the 7-iron and hit 100 metres in the air, perfect shot with just a little bit of help with her technique.
“I contacted the school and said, ‘This girl’s really good, do you think she’d be interested in coming to some free clinics up at Flagstaff?’ She lives the other side of Adelaide so I contacted the mum and contacted the daughter as well.
“She had such a great time so now I’m trying to get her across the line as part of the Foundation program and if I can get her to Flagstaff for 25 sessions, she’s going to be amazing.
“That’s what is really cool about what the PGA and Golf Australia are doing, they’re exposing golf to so many people from so many different backgrounds.
“In the next five years we’re going to have so many really good golfers from all different walks of life, which will be really cool.”
As for those Pringles chipping competitions…
“Oh my God, they try so hard for that,” Douglass-Norris adds.
“Everyone who starts the MyGolf program knows that at the end of the session we all line up in a big horseshoe and there’s a Pringles tin sitting on the putting green.
“They absolutely love it and now every week we have to make sure we’ve got a large Pringles for first, a small Pringles for second and third and others for the different age groups.
“It has become the highlight of their session.”
• If you know someone eager to get into golf – whatever their age – contact your local PGA Professional who can guide them in the best way to get started. Visit pga.org.au