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How Golf is Changing Lives in Remote Northern Territory

In a remote town called Tennant Creek, a young Aboriginal boy had a remarkable encounter with golf that left two individuals in awe. Brodie Morcom, the Relationship Manager (Northern Territory) for Golf Australia, embarked on a six-day roadshow to reach out to the communities in the Northern Territory. Witnessing the boy pick up a cut-down seven iron and effortlessly strike the ball 70 meters across a synthetic turf mat at the school oval, Morcom knew that this initiative was a resounding success.

The children's reactions to trying golf were great, but it was the sense of wonderment on Morcom's face that truly captured the extraordinary moment. Morcom expressed his admiration for the natural talent these children possessed, noting that their ability to understand and excel at various ball sports was incredibly rare. He recalled a particular incident at Tennant Creek Primary School, where a fifth-grade boy observed Morcom hitting the ball once, mimicked the swing, and nearly replicated the shot himself. After that single attempt, the boy declared his newfound passion for golf and expressed his desire to play the sport.

This discovery was akin to finding gold in a remote town renowned for its gold mining history. While such joyous reactions were immediate and fleeting, the true challenge lay in providing the necessary equipment and access to golf courses to foster a deeper connection with the sport. During the recent roadshow, Morcom traveled over 2000 kilometers, visiting Pine Creek School, Mataranka School, Elliott School, Tennant Creek Primary School, and Tennant Creek High School, introducing more than 300 children to golf. To minimize costs, Morcom collaborated with hockey, offering clinics using clubs, soft rubber balls, and tee mats that were transported in his white ute.

The clinics took place on various school grounds, including ovals, basketball courts, and even the gymnasium at Tennant Creek High School. The objective was to reach out to schools in remote communities that often missed out on such opportunities. Golf and hockey were chosen as sports that most of the children had never experienced before, offering them an alternative to the usual choices of footy or basketball. Morcom emphasized the life-changing potential that a mere hour spent with these children held. He shared the story of a grade three girl who had previously shown no interest in sports but discovered her passion for golf and hockey through the program. This, Morcom explained, was the essence of the My Golf schools program.

The impact of the initiative was evident even among children who spoke only the language of the Warumungu people. These children expressed their gratitude by giving hugs and saying "thank you." Morcom recalled the lasting positive experience they carried with them, as some children in Tennant Creek still remembered his previous visit three years earlier when he introduced touch football. Following the roadshow, Morcom met with the Tennant Creek Golf Club, which warmly embraced the idea of an introductory junior golf program to involve more children in the sport. Encouragingly, Morcom received a request from one school to assemble an equipment pack, while others expressed eagerness to include golf as a fourth-term activity.

Looking ahead, Morcom is already planning another roadshow, potentially in August, to Nhulunbuy, the birthplace of professional golfer Anthony Quayle, the reigning champion of the Queensland PGA in January 2022. Alice Springs and Katherine are also on the horizon as potential destinations. The possibility of Skye Lampton, a successful Aboriginal amateur golfer who competed in the Australian Amateur in Sydney earlier this year, joining the clinics in Katherine brings an extra level of excitement. Among the many children Morcom encountered, only a few were familiar with the name Tiger Woods, making the prospect of having Skye serve as a role model in the program even more impactful.

Read the full article here.

Photo Courtesy Golf Australia

Courtesy Golf Australia

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