New game for an ancient land
Golfing is commonly associated with carpets of well-manicured grass, and some command outstanding vistas, but none are dominated by the monolithic Uluru or the rugged scenery of Watarrka National Park.
Against these breathtaking panoramas, students from Mutitjulu and Watarrka schools are learning golf in the dust and sand of their school yards.
The novice players are benefiting from the MyGolf School Program, designed to introduce children to golf ‘through fun, engaging and challenging activities’.
Schools sports coordinator for the Alice Springs region, Tahlia Rutherford, said the students have limited access to structured sporting programs and enthusiastically adopted the game “relishing the opportunity to try something new”.
“It is challenging to play in surroundings with few flat, hard surfaces,” she said. “Watarrka is mostly sand, so initially I taught chipping – clubbing the ball to make it airborne over short distances. The kids had a great time chipping and catching the balls.
“At Mutitjulu I focused on putting with teams of junior and senior students, who tried to guide the ball through each other’s legs and sink it in the hole beyond. The Mutitjulu program was capped by an excursion to the Alice Springs Golf Club, where the students tested their golfing skills.“It’s wonderful to offer new sports to students that might otherwise miss out because of their isolation.