Congratulations to Brad Stallard and Timothy Mullins on receiving the Golf Australia Community Coach Recognition Award. Photo: Supplied
When it comes to recognising community coaches from Queensland, it is very difficult to overlook Brad Stallard and Timothy Mullins from the Central Highlands District and Emerald Golf Club. It is so difficult in fact that Golf Queensland’s Participation Development Manager, Adrian Hewat, couldn’t split the pair when nominating for the December Community Golf Coach Recognition Award.
“Without these two guys in the region, golf would not exist” Hewat said.
Brad and Timothy are the junior coordinators for the Golf Central Highlands District and although the district only contains eight clubs, it covers a large amount of land and requires them to travel a fair bit to get from club to club.
As junior coordinators, Brad and Timothy oversee the junior committee in the area which plays an important role in junior development as they are the voice of the juniors and parents. This particular committee is well structured and organised and has a solid plan that they work towards to achieve their goals every year.
“For junior golf to prosper, it is important for clubs to find their “champions” as Golf Central Highlands and Emerald Golf club have done” Hewat said.
A huge amount of commitment is shown by both coaches, not only to the juniors in the district but also those based at their home club of Emerald. Together they run the junior program at Emerald and now deliver the program to approximately 40 participants every Saturday.
Brad and Timothy have had a lot of success running a program that has three very distinct groups. The beginner groups contain children who are brand new to golf or are without the core skills of the stance, grip and basic swing.
Once these skills are established, children progress to the three hole group which focuses further on the core skills but also includes some basic control in chipping, putting and course play. This group also plays a number of holes quite regularly and the children are introduced to the safety, etiquette and sportsmanship required to play and enjoy golf. Incentives such as lollies are used to ensure the children are enjoying their golf and lots of games are used to teach and improve their skills. The participants also receive a handicap during this stage.
Finally, once a child reaches a handicap of 10 or alternatively, reaches the age of 10, they are progressed to the more advanced group which plays six, nine or 18 holes. In this group they begin to progress through skills relating to swing, ball positioning and shot selection until they are at a point where they can play at a standard required by the Central Highlands District.
Despite their success, it has not always been smooth sailing for the pair and they have had to overcome a few challenges along the way.
In order to compete with other sports, they have been running a year round program but this has led to some very weary participants, parents and even coordinators! Brad and Timothy are now considering reducing their season and have it commencing prior to the end of Term 1 and concluding two weeks into Term 4.
Like all good coaches, they have recognised that as the number of juniors increases, they will need to engage the parents of their juniors to assist with supervision on and the course and also during clinics. This isn’t always easy however, as several of the parents are not golfers themselves.
With a focus on participation and fun, Brad and Anthony have also created a team environment by providing their juniors with club shirts. Juniors that have attended more than 65 per cent of clinics during the year will also receive a wide brimmed hat with name on it. While Brad and Anthony have recognised that this is not as much as what children may receive when participating in the junior programs runs by other sports, their philosophy is that they want juniors participating in their program because they enjoy the game and not because of the “freebies” that come with joining up.
Both Brad and Timothy are strong advocates for junior golf and are committed to growing the game in the region. They work tirelessly to ensure children are exposed to the game and receive enjoyment from their participation in it.
Whilst the compliments about Brad and Timothy’s program are flowing in, perhaps the greatest endorsement of their coaching is that the kids actually want to be there and are regular attenders of the clinics and events run in the region.
Congratulations to Brad and Timothy on the wonderful work they are doing as accredited Community Coaches!