Carrie Julie knows very well what golf needs to grow, or even survive.
There has to be a push to introduce it to women, children and players with disabilities.
She comes at the issue with first hand knowledge. Her husband, Jeremy, is the owner/operator of Sawmill Golf Course just down the Niagara Peninsula in Pelham.
“If we don’t grow the game in these areas, none of us will be here in 20 years,” she says emphatically.
Julie is just wrapping up her first year as the regional director for Niagara for Golf Ontario. And if everything goes according to Hoyle, she will become regional director this fall of the newly-formed regions of Hamilton and Halton.
In fact, she already has a meeting scheduled with the head pros at the Hamilton and area clubs in November to try and lay out her vision to them to try and get them to join the group.
It’s not mandatory to join, nor was it in Niagara where 25 courses came on board, including an interesting mix of public, private and semi-private clubs.”It’s all about getting clubs together to grow the game,” Julie explains. “One of our first events in Niagara was called ‘Kids Try Golf.’ And we had nine clubs participate and 162 kids came out to try golf.”
They also had six courses — Lookout Point, Sawmill, Port Colborne, Beachwood, Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines — each bring three players between the ages of six and 12, who had never played competitively before, to take part in a scramble tournament.
And they introduced women to the game for the first time with an event called #inviteher. It involved women playing three holes and then taking part in wine tasting.
Julie also took 25 girls from the Niagara region to the CP Women’s Open where they were able to meet Brooke Henderson. Ten of the girls even got to putt for an LPGA pro in the Pro-Am.
None of this happens, says Julie, without the co-operation and support of the PGA of Canada professionals at the clubs who have opted in. And she’s hoping that the head pros at the clubs in the Hamilton and Halton areas will be as enthusiastic when the program is rolled out to them this fall.
If you think it sounds like a worthwhile program, ask your head pro or general manager to get involved.