The Australian Golf Foundation has received a stunning response to its AGF Junior Girls Golf Scholarship program for 2022.
The AGF, in collaboration with Golf Australia, today announced that 134 funded centres will take part in 2022, compared with 37 clubs in 2021.
"We have been delighted with the response," said Bonnie Boezeman AO, scholarship program founder and board member of the AGF. "To have such a huge number of applications from across Australia really shows there is a need and hunger to support young girls from learning the game to obtaining club membership, handicaps and playing competition golf.
"We have quickly grown from 226 scholarship holders in 2021 to as high as 800 girls in 2022 and pleasingly 50 percent of these girls will be coming from regional and rural clubs! This would not be possible if it wasn't for the inaugural principal sponsor, state golfing associations, Golf Australia/WPGA/PGA/Jack Newton Junior Golf/Golf Management Australia and many other generous donors.
"Each of these girls will hold a scholarship at their local club that includes group tuition and membership for the year, along with a branded shirt and cap for the girls to wear with pride."
"We have been overwhelmed at the incredible response we have had to the girls scholarship program. I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the organisations and donors who have supported the program." - Karen Lunn.
This rapid expansion would not have been possible without support from the entire golf industry and some generous donors. In a first, the golf industry has come together to support the program financially.
Karen Lunn, CEO of the WPGA and scholarship steering group member is excited for the future of women's golf.
"We have been overwhelmed at the incredible response we have had to the girls scholarship program. I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the organisations and donors who have supported the program, illustrating the power of what can be achieved when we all work together for the benefit of our sport," she said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the scholarship program will transform the future golfing landscape here in Australia. In addition to vastly increasing our pool of talent for future generations of female players, coaches and industry employees, we will no doubt eventually reap the rewards generated from having more women and girls participating in our sport.
"We look forward to watching the progress of these girls who will be mentored and coached under the watchful eyes of talented PGA coaches, or in some more remote areas our dedicated community instructors."
Clubs and resident PGA professionals are now busy recruiting girls to their programs and setting up their group tuition to start term 1 next year. Each club is expected to conduct an induction ceremony where girls and families are welcomed to the club and receive their scholarship uniforms.
Boezeman, who founded the concept at Killara Golf Club four years prior, believes having girls' interviews and inductions are part of the ethos of the program.
"These nuances create a sense of self-significance and importance of the program. We hope that holding a scholarship not only helps girls improve their golf, but by exposing girls to an interview process will help to develop confidence, interpersonal skills and create future leaders of our sport."