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The driving force behind golf in Northland

BY PHILIPPA MANNAGH
sean doel

Golf Northland is the local governing body for the game of golf in Northland, they’ve been known as the Northland Golf Association previously. There are 22 clubs in Northland that are affiliated to Golf Northland. Golf Northland Inc was created in 2006 but was known as the Northland Golf Association Inc prior to that. “We have been in the community for a number of years, promoting and driving golf in Northland,” says Sean Doel, Executive Officer for Northland Golf.

Philippa talks to three leading men who live and breathe this sport. Sean, Matthew and Michael tell us about the exciting golf focus hitting Northland and the new initiatives that the locals can look forward to!

Sean says the best part of his job is promoting the game and seeing the success of our representative teams and players as they continue to develop into leading players.

“We have a range of junior events that are held throughout the year as various golf clubs throughout Northland, These are in School SNAG (Starting new at Golf) Sessions, we are looking to hold a summer junior series where there will be team events played after school.”

“Working alongside NZ Golf, we are working towards their community golf plan through to 2018 while focusing on key drivers like Love Golf, She Loves Golf and Get on the green which have all had some great success introducing new people to the game,” he says.

She Loves Golf is a nationally lead initiative that takes place around New Zealand in November. There will be events, promotions and offers in participating clubs and driving ranges throughout the country, all tailored especially for women. She Loves Golf is about letting women know that it’s okay to wear your gym gear on the green, play as many holes as you like and not to keep score. Just get out there and have a go! The 2015 campaign was fronted by some of New Zealand’s most powerful celebrities and influences: Lydia Ko, Toni Street, Amber Peebles and Jamie Curry.

And the kids are a big focus too!

“We have a range of junior events which allow the kids involved to develop their skills and earn a place in our Northland representative sides, we have the junior boys and junior girls interprovincial tournaments coming up in September and October where they will put their skills to the test against all other districts in NZ.”

“We also have various inter district events throughout the year. We really want to focus on working with kids who are new to the game of golf, we will be holding a junior twilight series which should be a lot of fun, we’re hoping to generate interest within schools and get groups of mates coming out to play golf from an early age – It’s a great game as you can play as a kid and as a retiree!” says Sean.

The best part of Matthew’s job he says, is that he gets paid to do what he loves. “My office is Mother Nature and my clients are always interesting, varied and full of stories and experiences that help me to develop my own skill set.,” he says.

“I could not do my job well if it weren’t for the awesome people around me that work so hard and the clients that are always super supportive of me and the things I do.”

His role in a nutshell is to grow the club and the game of golf.

“I pursue this through a combination of grass roots coaching all the way up to elite level, running and promoting club events and competitions, assisting the current membership with retail and club fitting/repairs, in school golf programs, rules decisions and other admin tasks at the club. I have also been lucky enough to work with Golf Northland to deliver programs and also a few of the surrounding clubs to run improvement clinics.”

“My PGA accreditation comes from years of studying under incredibly talented professionals and combined with my degree in sports conditioning and coaching I feel well equipped to provide a holistic approach to developing young golfers,” Matthew says. – Matthew James Davis, BSc (Hons) NZPGA, is the Head Golf Professional at the Northland Golf Club.

Michael MacDonald, Club Capability Manager is a Northland lad, born and raised on the west coast in Dargaville. “I got involved in golf playing with a few mates as a teenager at the Northern Wairoa Golf Club and haven’t looked back.”

“My role as Club Capability Manager is to help support and grow the game of golf at grass roots level, helping clubs to be sustainable and prosperous organisations. It may be through providing advice, information or leadership to a club whether it is assisting a club with governance, marketing, planning, member & volunteer recruitment or partner engagement projects they may have.”

They all agree, providing support to people at the grassroots level and allowing more people to enjoy the great game of golf is the deep passion that drives what Sean, Matthew and Michael live and breathe everyday.

For the kids, the up and coming!

  1. The Northland Golf Club offers a free to all kids coaching and playing group every Sunday morning at 9am. This involves approx one hour of coaching/games followed by on course time (playing either competitively or for fun depending on the juniors desire/level).
  2. School holiday camps based at Northland Golf Club - again as above a mixture of coaching and playing. Usually these run for a full ‘school day’ and we try to involve parents that can accompany the juniors to partake as many of them find they develop a love for the game and can share it with their children.
  3. Coming soon.... PGA Junior League Golf this has the potential to be special and change the face of junior golf in the region. Borrowing concepts from other sports and also programs around the world that have seen radical growth. The goal here is to offer a practice and playing structure with the support of governing bodies that can excite the local school children ages 8-16

For more information phone Sean Doel on 021 0747151

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