The R&A is supporting golf in Myanmar by funding a special program for coaching the national team and developing the country’s coaching infrastructure.
The program, which is being delivered by Australian golf professional Mark Holland, aims to assist the Myanmar Golf Federation (MGF) with coaching its leading players and the coaches themselves.
With the support of The R&A, Holland will make four visits to the Southeast Asian country, also known as Burma, in the next 18 months to work with the players and to help develop the first coach education training program for the 70 professionals in the country. It follows on from a special Rules School that The R&A supported in Myanmar in January for around 40 golf enthusiasts.
The Asian Golf Industry Federation is also supporting the coach education program and some AGIF members, Acushnet, TaylorMade and Callaway, will be providing equipment.
Holland is a former tour professional and played regularly on the PGA Tour of Australasia. Since then he has served as the Head Coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Golf Programme. He has coached some of the most talented young players in Australian golf including Michael Sim, James Nitties, Luke Hickmott, Kurt Barnes, Marcus Both, Richard Moir, Lindsey Wright, Nadina Taylor and Sarah Kemp. Holland previously assisted The R&A with a similar coaching program in Samoa.
“I am delighted to work with The R&A on the coaching program in Myanmar,” he said. “There is so much potential for development there and I know they are very enthusiastic about the game. I will be coaching the team for the Southeast Asian Games and also working with their coaches to develop a training program for them. It is very satisfying to use my experience to help them build a platform from which golf can hopefully grow and develop in Myanmar.”
Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, said, “Mark has a wealth of experience in developing talented young players and will be able to provide a great deal of assistance for the Myanmar national team. There is an important role for him to play in helping them develop a training program for coaches. This is often a challenge for countries looking to develop in golf and we hope this program will be of great benefit to Myanmar.”
The Asian Golf Industry Federation (“AGIF”) is a not-for-profit regional organisation that supports members representing the entire golf industry in the sustained development of the golf business throughout Asia. The AGIF was founded in 2008 and its membership roster consists of leaders and stakeholders in the Asian golf industry working together in support of key issues for the benefit and betterment of the industry. A pilot “Grow the Game” project was held in Vietnam from 2010 to 2011 and allowed for over 3,000 Vietnamese to be introduced to golf for the first time.
Mr Wong Khen Jee, President of the AGIF commented, “The AGIF is very excited to co-operate with The R&A on the development of the game of golf in Myanmar. With an established golf culture, and numerous existing golf facilities in the country, Myanmar is poised to become a leading golf market in SE Asia. Golfers are the lifeblood of the golf industry and we are hopeful that this initiative will help to grow the number of golfers playing the game in Myanmar. In addition to financial support, we are grateful to our AGIF members TaylorMade, Adidas Golf, Callaway Golf and Acushnet Company who will also be providing assistance through the supply of golf equipment for training purposes and development of the game.”
Aung Han, the Secretary General of the Myanmar Golf Federation, said, “On behalf of the MGF, I would like to thank The R&A and AGIF for supporting the development of the game of golf in Myanmar. The R&A-supported coaching program that is being initiated with The R&A officials and MGF officials will open many new opportunities for our young players as well as assist them with the necessary technical complexity to enhance their skills.
“This program will also not only encourage our players to participate in higher level tournaments but will also allow them to reach their goals in due course.”
There are 127 golf courses in Myanmar and the MGF estimates there are around 50,000 club golfers in the country with a further 25,000 golfers who are not attached to clubs. The Myanmar national team is preparing for the 27th Southeast Asian Games which will be held in Naypyidaw, the capital city of Myanmar, Yangon and Mandalay in December 2013.