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Croker Academy of Golf Pty Ltd

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Phone: 0415 292 549 (Peter Croker)

0411 814 786 (Chris Beckett)

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Whats the most important fundamental to learn with the game of golf?

18 Jul 2013

The Future for Golf in Thailand is Bright

I have just returned from Thailand where I was delivering Key to Golf  Schools for Thai PGA Professionals, adult amateur golfers, and bunch of enthusiastic junior golfers.

In Chiang Mai, my first teaching destination, the junior class ranged from 4 years of age up to 18 years and all were signed up for long term lesson program''s. Kitty Sornkaew, who developed his junior golf program in Chaing Mai over the past 10 years, has many of his juniors playing on low single figure handicaps and scratch and below.  Several have become Tournament Professionals - one had just recently shot 15 under par in a Thai PGA Tournament.

In Thailand there are approximately 650 Tournament Professionals and 950 Teaching Professionals. In recent times we have seen Thai Pros more prominent on the Leader Boards of Asia, Europe, and now  on the Asian Swing of the USA PGA Tour.

A Thai Professional - - was Number 1 on the European Senior Tour in 2012 and it looks like more is to come when I see the work ethic and passion that starts in their Junior Programs.

In Junior Golf, the Thai 6 and under, 7 and under, 8 and under, 9 and under, and 10 and under Age Divisions in the World Junior US Kids Championships has Thai Juniors either winning or high on the results lists - Amazing stuff!

These  junior golfers were just terrific and their ability to produce a great golf swing on a repeating basis at such an early age was awesome.

To watch  how they did the drills correctly as well as hitting an endless number of golf balls was an example of how age is not a barrier to learning to swing a golf club correctly and to learn in a way that will lead to long term improvement. Being a little inconsistent did not stop them from trying to do what the Coaches asked of them. This is "child like learning "'' at its best and a good thing to copy for us in the older categories.

Two brothers impressed me a bunch- Axel, 8 years old, and ?, 6 years of age.

I played 9 holes with Axel and he drove the ball consistently straight down the fairway and over 180 metres. His short game was excellent and he loves competition. It will be interesting to follow his progress over the years ahead.

While ? was not anywhere as powerful as his older brother, his consistent and straight shots were amazing to watch. His swing was copy book and he could play all the shots - chip, pitch, irons, driver, and bunkers. Their father is American and mother from the Check Republic and the family have chosen Chiang Mai to live. Both boys attended the International School. The boys have been learning from Kitti for around 2 years.

Following from my time in Chiang Mai, the next 2 day school was in Bangkok for junior golfers. Again I was amazed with how the younger students were just as dedicated as the older ones to "swing like a Pro."

The Thai PGA held a Key to Golf Workshop for their Teachers. The feedback was positive in regards having a thorough program to follow. There are 950 + PGA Golf Instructors in Thailand. Most Thai golfers are to be found on the Driving Ranges more than here in Australia as playing on the golf courses is expensive by Thai standards. There are more than a million golfers in total and golf is in a positive growth trend as many golfers come from Japan, China, Korea, Europe and even Australia to have golfing holidays in Thailand.

The son of Ting Sornkaew, ------------, is now 11 years old and hits the ball like a Pro. He has won over 100 Junior Tournaments, the biggest being the combined India, Malaysia, and Thailand 11 and under Championship. I had given him a lesson with his father when he was 4 and right from the start he had a keen interest to "Enjoy the Hit!"

Again it will be of interest to see how he progresses over the following years.

He certainly has a strong base to build from and his father and mother have made sure his schooling is not neglected.



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