First Year at Montgomerie Links
QUANG NAM, Vietnam (17 August 2010) – The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) has awarded The Montgomerie Links Vietnam a USD $10,000 grant to promote participation in the game across all socioeconomic strata in the Central Coast region.
“It’s a most welcome and significant exclamation point to our first anniversary,” said general Jon Tomlinson, referring to the opening of all 18 holes in August 2009, which led to Montgomerie Links Vietnam being named the country’s best new golf course. “Most important, it’s an affirmation of our passion for, and approach to, bringing golf to the area.”
The AGIF Grow-the-Game / Let’s Go Golf initiative begins immediately and will run through 31 January 2011. And while the program will encourage every age and level of player – including corporate outreach events, school visits, and other off-course activities – the emphasis is on attracting novice junior players, with the goal introducing the game to 2,000 children and 1,000 adults.
The cornerstone of that effort will be the Let’s Go Golf program, devised specifically to expand participation in Vietnam and supervised by Lee Marshall, British PGA Professional and head professional at the Montgomerie Links Golf Academy.
Let’s Go Golf is a comprehensive, one-hour introductory golf program designed to introduce people to the game of golf through the basic requirements and skill, thereby removing any undue unease over visiting a golf club for the first time. Budding players learn the essential terminology, how the equipment functions, and fundamental techniques – grip, posture, alignment, and so forth – for both full-swing and short-game shots.
Other golf-promoting aspects of the initiative, undertaken in association with Vietnam Golf Association, will be sanctioned tournaments for up-and-coming players, and even group activities for non-golfing parents and partners.
Of course, it’s not all giving back to the community, as Marshall noted. “When a kid hits a shot that flies in the air and lands 90 yards away for the first time, the look on their face is priceless,” Marshall says. “That’s why we teach — to help people achieve things they previously couldn’t. But they’re not the only ones having fun.”
Montgomerie Links won the grant after all golf courses and driving ranges in Vietnam were invited by the Asian Golf Industry Federation to submit bids. Their successful bid presumably was in part attributable to an earlier iteration of Let’s Go Golf, co-sponsored by Pepsi and first held in the summer of 2009. It attracted 125 children – twice the anticipated number. It also planted in Marshall’s consciousness the idea of the 10 scholarships, with equipment and other expenses covered, to be included in this year’s edition, held in early July.
Another factor may have been the availability of the Montgomerie Links Golf Academy, another first for the Central Coast. Staffed by PGA professionals, it has the latest in video swing analysis technology, putting, chipping, bunker-play practice areas, and artificial lighting for game-improvement after dark.
To call the year since The Montgomerie Links Vietnam opened eventful would be an understatement. Besides the “best-new-course” award (and a similar one for “best par 5,” the 12th hole), the club has hosted the Ambassador’s Cup, a convocation of diplomatic and business leaders, last September; the national match-play championships; numerous club, charity, corporate, and other tournament events; and, most recently, a visit by Colin Montgomerie, the European PGA Tour star and sitting Ryder Cup Captain whose design bears his name – and who happened to shot the course record, 68.
“Even when we were clearing the land for the course, we were talking about changing the perception that golf is elitist and only for expats and the wealthy,” said Peter Ryder, CEO of Indochina Land, the owner and developer of the 70-hectare property. “In that sense, growing the game is part of the club’s design, just like the 17 bunkers on the 12th hole. So we take to the task gladly and greatly value our collaboration with AGIF and VGA.”
For more information on the Let’s Go Golf program, contact Lee Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org, or +84 (510) 3941 942.