Melbourne, Australia: Linda Chen has introduced hundreds of Chinese-Australians to golf in the past 12 months as a community instructor at Oakleigh Public Golf Course in south-eastern Melbourne.
She is the perfect advertisement for Golf Australia’s community instructor programme, where golf enthusiasts can share their love of the game with other like-minded people, usually working alongside a PGA professional after completing an accreditation process.
Working with well-known professional and coach Sandy Jamieson at Oakleigh, Chen delivers MyGolf and Get into Golf programmes for newcomers, and uses the social media platform Wechat, popular among Chinese-Australians, to promote the game.
“Many Chinese people are unaware of how to get into golf,” she said. “This has built a bridge for the Asian community to become engaged in golf.
“We are a collectivist community, and it’s important that you have a coach at the club that reflects the main demographics of the local area and is someone the community can relate to.”
Jamieson originally taught Chen how to play golf. When the number of Chinese players – sometimes 20 to 40 at Oakleigh – became difficult for him to handle, he encouraged her to take the community instructor accreditation and help out.
Chen now coaches players of all ages, which Jamieson says is significant. “This exposes the true beauty of golf and that it can be played by anyone, together,” he said.
Most of her teaching is done on course, rather than a driving range. “This empowers people to feel like they can actually use the golf course,” she said.
“More patience is required with the juniors but it’s great to sometimes have the parents in the same session to assist with managing the kids. Chinese families, in particular, want to get into golf together and to have an activity for family time.”
Jamieson is delighted with what has been achieved. “This opportunity has raised Linda’s status in the Chinese community,” he said. “As part of moving society forward, it’s important to strive to be up-skilling others.
“We promote the message that golf is an easy and fun game, and it’s cheap. We are breaking down the perception that it is difficult and non-accessible.”
*Article by Sabrin Nyawela, Golf Australia Participation Officer – Inclusion