In The News: Blomidon Golf Club wins Golf Canada’s 2023 grassroots junior program of the year

[Stephen Roberts] CORNER BROOK, N.L., April 2023 – To grow the game of golf, Wayne Allen wants every child to have the opportunity to play.

Allen, a PGA professional since the age of 20, is the head pro at the Blomidon Golf Club in Corner Brook.

He leads the club’s junior golfer program, which is now seeing national recognition. Earlier this month, the Blomidon Golf Club received Golf Canada’s 2023 Grassroots Junior Program of the Year. The award is presented to a facility or academy program that is excelling at creating new junior golfers through local programming.

Per Golf NL, the club “offered a multitude of programs in 2022 for junior golfers ranging in age from five to 18 – including a girls club that features weekly instruction from women coaches. In addition to reserving tee times each day for juniors, Blomidon also executed a unique ‘close the course for a day’ event that catered to junior golfers and their families.”

“It’s a massive honour,” Allen tells West Coast Wire. “The membership has always been a big supporter of junior golf and I think it’s second-to-none amongst golf clubs in the country in what the membership provides to our juniors members and the opportunities they provide.”

He cites something as simple as providing two hours of tee times every morning to junior members as making a big difference. Their junior program includes a five- to nine-year-old program that allows them to practice on the putting green, the chipping green, the small driving range and the bunkers. When they turn 10, they get to play on the golf course.

There are nine coaches, many who have been through the junior program themselves.

“So, it works kind of like a mentoring system,” Allen comments.

As they pass through the program, older youth will help teach the younger students. Allen says they want to provide the students a safe and fun environment for them to enjoy their summer holidays. He adds golf also imparts life lessons.

“They’re learning things like honesty and integrity and behaviours and I think that’s critical to anybody as they learn the various life lessons that golf can provide,” he explains.

And then if they want to play competitive it provides an avenue for them to continue that trajectory.

The program commences in late June and runs seven to eight weeks.

First Tee program

In addition to the junior program, the club started offering outreach through the First Tee program last fall.

Club instructors go into local elementary schools, as part of their physical education program, with a lesson plan and go through a full curriculum of six different lessons.

“It’s phenomenal,” says Allen. “Within a city like Corner Brook, I can get a golf club in every kid’s hand. We can get every child in K to 6 to try the game of golf.”

This allows students an otherwise unavailable opportunity to determine whether they’re interested in the game of golf.

“If they enjoy it, then we can provide an outlet for them to join in our spring or summer programs,” says Allen.

According to Allen, the First Tee program focuses on providing opportunity for youth who may not have previously had the resources to join. For him, it was an eye-opening experience, as he watched children of immigrant families from places such as Ukraine, Syria, Africa and Southeast Asia try the sport.

“To see the look on their faces and their enjoyment is just so rewarding,” says Allen.

They are currently continuing the First Tee program during the school spring session.

Enjoying the game

Allen, originally from England, has played golf since the age of 10.

He moved to Newfoundland 20 years ago and has been at the Blomidon Golf Club for 18 years.

He notes one of the virtues of golf is that anybody can play it at any age: you can have three or four generations of a family all playing golf together.

“There’s not many sports where you can do that,” he says. “You can play with your children and grandparents in the same group.”

Allen says funding from RBC and Golf Canada has been critical in introducing the sport to young people, enabling them to join and participate in events at the club in the summertime.

For Allen, it’s a pleasure to see these youth get the opportunity to take up the sport he loves.

“I love what I do,” he proclaims. “I’m quite fortunate. It’s a very rewarding role that I have. And you can see it on the kids’ faces in schools and summer program when they get the opportunity to play golf. It’s a lot of fun.”

To learn more about the Blomidon Golf Club visit or the Blomidon Golf Facebook page.

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