Yangon, Myanmar: A collaboration between the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and The R&A to grow the game in Myanmar has been hailed a success.
Funded by the AGIF and The R&A, acclaimed instructor Mark Holland has made three trips to Myanmar over the past 18 months to coach the national team and develop a training programme for local instructors.
Holland, formerly Head Coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Golf Programme, said: “It is very satisfying to use my experience to build a platform from which golf can grow and develop in Myanmar.
“In terms of developing players and coaches, the three trips have been very worthwhile. But we have only scratched the surface and much more work and a co-ordinated national training strategy for both groups is now required.”
Holland’s positive influence was borne out by the performance of the Myanmar team at last December’s 27th Southeast Asian Games. He said: “In winning three silver medals, the national team showed what can be achieved. I’m sure with more structured activities they will produce more positive results.”
Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, said: “Mark has a wealth of experience in developing talented young players and there’s no doubt the three visits he made to Myanmar have been very productive.
“The importance of helping Myanmar develop a training programme for its own coaches cannot be over-stated. This is often a challenge for countries looking to develop in golf and we hope this programme will be of great benefit to Myanmar.”
Tim Trinka, President of the AGIF, said: “The Federation is pleased to have co-operated with The R&A on the development of the game of golf in Myanmar. With an established golf culture, and numerous existing golf facilities in the country, Myanmar is poised to become a leading golf market in Southeast Asia.
“Golfers are the lifeblood of the golf industry and we are hopeful that this initiative will help to grow the number of golfers playing the game in Myanmar – and will be the first of many collaborations between the AGIF and The R&A.”
Aung Han, Secretary-General of the Myanmar Golf Federation (MGF), said: “On behalf of the MGF, I would like to thank The R&A and AGIF for supporting the development of golf in Myanmar. The coaching programme initiated will open many new opportunities for our young players as well as assist them with the necessary technical complexity to enhance their skills.”
Currently there are 127 golf courses in Myanmar. The MGF estimates there are around 50,000 club golfers in the country with a further 25,000 golfers who are not attached to clubs.
Holland, who previously assisted The R&A with a similar coaching programme in Samoa, said: “I have been delighted to work on the coaching programme in Myanmar. There is so much potential for development there and they are very enthusiastic about the game.”
The AGIF funded a pilot ‘Grow the Game’ project in Vietnam from 2010 to 2011 that resulted in more than 3,000 Vietnamese being introduced to golf for the first time.