Aspiring young golfers in Myanmar and Nepal recently benefited from coaching clinics as part of The R&A’s grassroots work in the Asia-Pacific.
Australian coach Kim Baldwin spent time in both countries running sessions for up and coming players.
In August, Mr Baldwin travelled to the Thailand Amateur Open and Putra Cup events to assess and coach Myanmar’s leading young players.
Thailand, which has a strong track record of producing talented players, as shown by the number progressing to the professional ranks annually, very much the benchmark for other countries in the region.
Myanmar golfers, by comparison, have very limited experience in top level competition and are encouraged to take part in the Thailand Amateur Open to give them valuable experience of playing at that level. Mr Baldwin spent time with each competitor from Myanmar to give one-to-one tuition and make recommendations to further their development.
Then in September, Tashi Ghale from the Nepal Golf Association (NGA) accompanied Mr Baldwin as they attended the Faldo Series at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort.
A number of aspiring golfers taking part in the event, including Sukra Rai, Tenzing Tshering and Pratima Sherpa, met up with Mr Baldwin before he delivered a week-long programme of golf clinics and workshops at various clubs across the country.
Even though heavy rain during monsoon season disrupted a number of sessions in both Myanmar and Nepal, the players’ enthusiasm and willingness to learn was a highlight of the programme.
“Overall performances at both events were generally pleasing. The results gave a very good perspective of where Myanmar’s amateur golfers are at present relative to their South East Asian counterparts,” commented Mr Baldwin on his visit to Myanmar.
“The team possesses talent. A mixture of hard work, determination and passion to succeed will be required for this group to further advance.”
Speaking about his time in Nepal and, in particular, the encouraging form of the Nepalese players competing in the Faldo Series, Mr Baldwin added, “Sukra Rai’s performance in the Faldo Series was very pleasing as the NGA has invested time and money with him. His second round sub-par performance was a display of excellent ball striking, which is an area he has improved considerably.”
The Faldo Prize Presentation was attended by the Minister for Sport, Daljit Sripali, who awarded the age group winners with certificates. The Minister then addressed the gathering and expressed his support for the NGA in its efforts to establish a golf academy which would be a huge boost for the sport in the country.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf, said, “We are delighted to support golf development in the Asia-Pacific and continue to deliver this through a dedicated office in Singapore run by Dominic Wall and Nick Shan.
“It is always encouraging to see young people playing and competing at a high level internationally and it is vital that we continue to support high quality coaching and the facilitation of competitive events in countries that show potential, which is certainly the case in Myanmar and Nepal.
“The knowledge and quality of advice that PGA coaches like Kim Baldwin provide is invaluable in enabling these aspiring golfers to progress. Let’s hope that one day in the near future more golfers from South-East Asia are making a name for themselves in the professional ranks worldwide.”