The camp was held on the weekend of Friday 13th July through to Sunday 15th July at the Moonah Links Golf Club on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne. The camp was conducted by three coaches¬†who are regarded as some of the best in their fields, “Brook Salmon”¬†is a swing doctor employed by ‚ÄúTitleist‚ÄĚ to analyse¬†golf swings from leading professional and amateur golfers. “Richard Cooney” is a highly respected teacher of putting¬†who is based at Rosanna Golf Club in¬†Melbourne “Mark Holland ”¬†was the teacher of the short game,¬†chipping and bunker play. Mark is the leading coach of theAustralian Institute of Sport in this area.
¬†Two students, Harry¬†Dawbin, and Chris Nugent from the Sunraysia Academy¬†departed Mildura at 4.30pm Thursday afternoon on route to Bendigo to stay the night, before¬†continuing through to Melbourne¬†the next morning for a visit to the Victorian Institute of Sport headquarters in Albert Park.
Friday¬†morning saw an early start and a long day ahead for the boys, the first of the weekend. Arriving in Melbourne around 9.30am we made it to the Academy of¬†Sport for a tour with Nerissa Byrne who is in the position of Coordinator of Scholarships for talented athletes of Victoria in¬†many different sports. The tour included seeing athletes training for the London Olympics, training areas,¬†physiological, physical, and rehabilitation facilities. Also planning programs and courses to ensure athletes reach their full potential. The VIS is located at Albert Park in Melbourne and is well worth a visit.
Friday afternoon, we then headed off to the Moonah Links Open course which was built to host the Australian Open for the first time in the mid 90’s.¬†The boys participated in a tournament between the participating regions of the weekend playing a stableford event for the¬†Alec Calvert¬†Trophy. They performed well to finish with an average of¬†31.5 points which was just short of the winning region Geelong with an average of 33 points.
Saturday morning saw the boys back at Moonah Links for an Induction session about the weekend camp before starting at 9.00am. The camp was conducted at the VIS training facilities which was an area that included practise fairway with computer recording system to analyse their swing, a putting green, ¬†a chipping green surrounded by many bunkers all different sizes and depths and main building for meals, one on one conversations with coaches, physical training, and theory. We felt very privileged as the whole complex was closed to the public for the weekend.
The first thing the boys worked on was their putting with Richard. This saw them connected to one of only three computer systems in Australia that calculates their alignment, the way the putter was sitting and the stroke.¬† ¬†After their results were finalised and a private lesson with the coach, the boys made their way to the green to practise their improvements. The afternoon saw the boys meet with Brook, for the first time of the weekend, to do swing analysis. They were screened and hit a number of balls to record accurate readings for the computer. From there Brook made changes to both boy‚Äôs swings and set them up with correct positions. The recordings from the computer were emailed to the address of the boy‚Äôs choice for their own records.¬† The rest of the afternoon saw all athletes on the practise fairway working on the suggestions and changes that had been made to their swings.
Sunday morning saw the athletes up early and packed back at the training centre for the last two sessions for the weekend.¬† The a.m. session was with Mark for the short game.¬† This included chipping technique, bunker play, ability to identify problems within their short games, and practise drills to ensure the right practise is being done during practise time.¬† Mark showed the athletes how to play¬†smart shots around the greens and opened their minds to the way they think about getting the best results.¬† Mark is the head coach for the A.I.S. in this field and his thoughts, ability to play different shots, and knowledge of this area was amazing and it was an unbelievable experience to be taught by him. The final session Sunday afternoon saw the boys revisit both the coaches from Saturday to fine tune what they had been told the day before.¬† With all athletes having the one on one time again with Richard and Brook then hit the practise fairways to hit balls and be watched by the coaches for the final time.
The camp closed around 4 o’clock and in summary it was an amazing opportunity for the athletes to attend.¬† It consisted of 24 athletes in total with 3 of those female. Ages range from 17 to 12, and the handicaps of the athletes range from +4 to 36.¬† With a very large weekend of golf behind them it was time to return to Mildura arriving at 11.30 pm Sunday night.