The trainees from Rising Star Juniors (RSJ), a unique golf academic programme for youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, were treated to a special golf clinic by junior golf stars Bryan Teoh Wiyang and Natasha Oon.
The RSJ programme, established by the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC), is fully funded by Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) in collaboration with MST Golf Sdn Bhd, the operator of KLGCC Golf Academy.
Junior golfers Bryan Teoh Wiyang, 14, and Natasha Andrea Oon, 13, spent half a day with the 18 RSJ trainees to share their experiences, knowledge, skills and tips on golf with various activities from hitting at the driving range to putting at the greens. Both junior golfers are beneficiaries of YSD which has sponsored their participation in various golf tournaments worldwide.
Having learnt some neat tricks from Bryan and Natasha, the RSJ participants were split into two groups, led by Bryan and Natasha. The two teams then competed in a mini putting tournament where they put their training by the duo to the test, and Team Natasha came out tops.
“I love the challenge of the game very much and it is a great opportunity to be a part of RSJ. It has given me a chance to realise my dreams of becoming a golfer. I also hope that the concept of the programme will continue to garner interest from the public so that we will have a thriving junior golf community in future,” said RSJ trainee Ezza Najihah bt. Mohiddin, 16, from Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim/Miskin Klang (PEYAKIN), who has been working hard to improve her swing and chipping techniques.
Adrian Pang Chun Keat, 17, another RSJ trainee from SHELTER Home for Children, said, “I’m very grateful and proud to be a part of RSJ and being able to pick up the sport. I want to enter the golf industry one day, whether to play professionally or manage a golf academy.”
“I think this is a great programme by YSD for the underprivileged youths to learn golf. We are happy to be able to give back to the community and teach my new friends here how to love the game and have fun!” said Natasha, who started playing golf at the age of four. She also idolises golfers Jordan Spieth, Lydia Ko, and Annika Sörenstam.
“This is my first time giving a golf clinic to a group of young trainees. It was definitely a fulfilling experience for me to share my knowledge with them. Seeing their enthusiasm during the golf clinic gave me hope that someday golf will be embraced as a sport for all,” said Bryan Teoh, who is a big fan of golfers Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
Chairman of Sime Darby Foundation, Tun Musa Hitam said, “The idea behind RSJ is to give opportunities to underprivileged children to learn and play golf, even though this sport in general is still considered an elite sport. We hope that Bryan and Natasha have truly inspired our trainees to believe that they have the capabilities to become young professional sports men and women, as well as to create a better future for themselves.”
KLGCC General Manager, Steven A. Thielke said “We are delighted to host these enthusiastic group of young hopefuls as well as the amateur champions, Bryan and Natasha, who were very keen in sharing their insights and know-how to help these kids develop into well rounded individuals. We certainly hope to host similar engagement sessions in the future as part of our continuous effort to groom our RSJ trainees to become professional golfers someday.”
Rising Star Juniors Programme
The prestigious Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) in partnership with Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and MST Golf Sdn Bhd, the operator of the KLGCC Golf Academy, have established the first of its kind golf academy, Rising Star Juniors (RSJ), to provide an opportunity for youths from disadvantaged backgrounds to excel in the sport.
The two-year programme funded by YSD with an RM645,000 sponsorship is targeted at youths between the ages of 12 to 17. 18 youths from a pool of 240 applicants were selected in April to participate in a comprehensive golf training programme which started in May.
The youths received complimentary training equipment, professional coaching and transportation to and from KLGCC throughout their course. This Academy has its own host venue, KLGCC, an internationally recognised club with world class facilities.
RSJ is divided into three phases:-
Phase 1 began in April with the screening of 240 participants at KLGCC via a series of physical fitness tests monitored by certified instructors, from which 18 junior trainees were selected for the programme.
Phase 2 began in May where 18 junior trainees started a 40-week training stint at KLGCC, three times a week for two hours.
The students are currently learning the fundamentals of putting, chipping, pitching, swing and bunker play. They will then proceed to learn the rules and etiquette, playing on the golf course, course management and introduction to the psychology of the game, which will help prepare them mentally for the sport. During the final stages of the programme, they will learn advanced shot-making and also be introduced into the club environment and golf industry.
Phase 3 is a continuity programme where the 18 junior trainees will be recommended to train for an additional 40 weeks under the advanced 9-level training programme.