Inspiring Passion on The Golf Course
The Miskanaw Golf Course, nestled in the boreal forest and home of beautiful season-round vistas, is well known in the Wood Buffalo region for a challenging round of golf under the northern summer sun. What may be less well known, however, is the Miskanaw Golf Club commitment to the development of youth in the region.
THE PROFESSIONALS OF Miskanaw Golf Club have been working with local youth for many years, developing golf programs designed to introduce youth to the sport while also fostering skills related to sportsmanship and etiquette.
The In-School Golf Program has been operating since 2011, and over that time has introduced over 7,000 elementary school students to the fundamentals of golf. This program, provided free of charge to local schools, has been developed to introduce local youth to the sport and give them an opportunity to learn basic golf skills under the guidance of golf professionals from the Miskanaw Golf Club, using the “Start New At Golf” (SNAG) equipment owned by Miskanaw Golf Club.
The tremendous success of the In-School Golf Program led to the development of the After-School Golf Program, a new program for 2014, which saw 58 students participate in an afterschool program using SNAG equipment to further develop their golf skills and build their interest in the sport.
“Golf is more than just a sport,” says Rob MacGregor, PGA of Canada Director of Golf and Grounds at the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC). “Golf is a way to build leadership skills, foster confidence and even develop etiquette and good manners in young adults while having fun.”
Also new for 2014 is golf-focused programming for children with special needs. Tailored to their individual needs, this program will utilize the skills of the Miskanaw Golf Club professionals to allow children with special needs to both explore and enjoy the sport of golf. Another new initiative is the Golf Glam Programs, which have been designed to specifically introduce young women to golf in a supportive environment where they can work on their golf skills while also enjoying the social atmosphere.
These initiatives, combined with the annual golf camps, participation in ATB Financial Mi Day at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre and the Junior Golf program, have seen thousands of local youth introduced to golf. The increased exposure of the sport has led to a significant increase in junior golf memberships at the Miskanaw Golf Club, from 12 junior members in 2009 to close to 100 today.
“Golf is a sport that inspires passion among those who play it,” says MacGregor. “The desire to improve skills and develop a stronger game really pairs well with a social aspect that appeals to the younger demographic in our community. Our ONE Team golf professionals find working with our local youth inspiring, as it allows them to share their passion for golf while also empowering youth and giving them the opportunity to explore a new sport. This is a win-win for local youth and the Miskanaw Golf Club, and we are tremendously appreciative to all of our members and partners who give us the support we need to be able to continue to reach out to the youth of this community.”
More information on the Miskanaw Golf Club can be found at macdonaldisland.ca/golf, and registration for spring and summer golf programs is now open at macdonaldisland.ca/programs.