The life of an emerging golfer can be a lonely one.
Elite amateurs and rising young professionals, who need to head overseas for regular competition, can often spend weeks at a time alone. It gets even harder when good scoring is swamped by bad form and home sickness.
Golf Australia has recognised this can stymie a golfer’s rise to fulfil their potential, which is why the organisation has established an international base for Australian golfers in Orlando, Florida.
Golf Australia High Performance General Manager Brad James said the base will be somewhere rookie squad and elite amateurs can go to refresh the body and mind, practise and play in preparation for events or talk to someone familiar to them.
“What we want to do is continue our relationship with the players when they head overseas,” James said.
“When they do it’s a very difficult time to take that journey by themselves overseas … its can be really tough. But they all have to leave eventually and that’s where this new facility can assist, so it’s not so lonely out there for them.
“We’ve set up the base in Florida to create a home away from home and have someone there they can talk to about their game or just talk about home. It is designed to help them feel like they’re at home.
“There will be Vegemite and Tim Tams in the cupboard and an Australian flag on the wall when they walk inside.”
Golf Australia Sport Medicine and Performance Manager Luke Mackey and his family have been relocated to the house in Florida, which has been fully-funded by private benefactors and the Australian Institute of Sport. Australian athletes can utilise the house free of charge.
An arrangement has also been made with nearby Orange County National Golf Course, where players can go to practise and play. This facility has access to a gym, recovery area, 360-degree range, short game area and two golf courses.
Mackey’s primary objective will be to check in with all Australian amateurs and professionals, who are based in the US and Europe.
“Luke’s role is to see how things are going with the players,” James said. “To let them know there’s a country that is supporting them.
“There will be information Luke can then provide back to coaches and family that will ultimately help that athlete reach their potential.”