Overcoming unprecedented times requires resolve, innovation and above all, extraordinary teamwork. That’s exactly what the good folk at Golphin and its GolphinForKids Academy are doing to help kids, golf clubs and PGA professionals right here, right now.
The Ayrshire-based company founded 7 years ago has been very pro-active in keeping kids engaged in golf throughout the lockdown period with their newly created digital initiative, MyPathway2Golf@Home, and the innovative outfit is keen to get our Irish juniors on board now too.
The idea for keeping kids active at home during lockdown was born off the back GolPhin’s successful launch of its interactive app, MyPathway2Golf. Launched in partnership with the PGA of America in January at the The PGA Golf Show Members Education Forum in Orlando, Florida, they presented the app to 140 of the top PGA golf professionals and coaches from around the world to great acclaim. Golf Digest included GolPhin in the “Top 14 most exciting things to see at this year’s show”. High praise indeed. The Scottish based business has caught the eye both domestically and internationally with formal partnerships signed with various governing organisations such as the PGA of America, Golf Australia, PGA of Germany and England Golf
Both MyPathway2Golf and the MyPathway2 Golf@Home Apps offer an abundance of services and benefits which are instrumental in developing children’s golf skills as well as improving mindset, fitness, mindfulness and overall life skills. The programmes include high-quality instructional videos, skills challenges, on course scoring, leaderboards, management with calendar sync and personalised profiles. The PGA professionals and coaches can also customise online course creation in the MyPathway2Golf App to encourage practice and skill development.
The communication process is also key to the success of the initial MyPathway2Golf programme. Coaches can communicate directly with the children on a 1-2-1 basis or as a group through the app and coaches can assign them with skills challenges and other tips to get fit and ready for golf. To ensure parental engagement, mum and dad are sent notifications of all communication between the coaches and the kids, this helps create engagement between all the coach, the club and the entire family. It also allows parents to track how their children are progressing by viewing leaderboards and also to see what stage the child is at as they progress through GolPhin’s 6 levels of progression. Progression levels begin at bronze and go all the way through to diamond. The children work their way through all the different programmes under the guidance of their coach.
“It’s not a race,” says PGA professional Alan Tait who oversees the GolPhin UK Operations.
“The most important aspect is the kids are having fun, learning about golf and other life skills as they go through the different stages. We call the 6 levels our Skills Challenge Pyramid of Progression. Some little superstars might get through’ all 6 levels in one summer, for other children it might take them 2-3 years. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. This will depend on the time the coach can commit to the programme, as well as the ability of the children.”
PGA Professional James Erskine is Head Professional at Dumfries and County Golf Club and is one of the most respected and sought-after coaches in the country. James signed up to GolPhin’s MyPathway2Golf App (MP2G) earlier this year and is excited about what it will bring to the club and also his own business.
“In 21 years of coaching I have never seen as good a junior programme such as this,” said James.
“It’s world class and there’s simply nothing out there like it. It also gives me and my assistants a structure and a platform to work from which is invaluable. It brought a whole new wave of kids to the club ranging from 4 to 14 years of age. I can’t wait to get started again after the lockdown Covid-19 period. I’m convinced this will ultimately lead to increased junior memberships and parents wanting to join the club as well.”
Meanwhile while the coronavirus continues, founder of GolPhin Calum McPherson admitted to being worried that the momentum the kids had gained throughout the country via the MyPathway2Golf outlets would grind to a halt so he and his team adapted parts of the app to become MyPathway2Golf@Home:
“Keeping kids engaged and as active as possible at home is so important to family life right now,” McPherson said.
“Helping golf facilities and PGA Professionals connect with their junior members can only be done remotely for the time being, so we’ve adapted our initial MP2G App to do just that. We’ve worked day and night to come up with MyPathway2Golf@Home (MP2G@H), it’s proving to be a big hit with kids from all over the world registering – and it’s all absolutely free. MP2G@H is full of games, quizzes, competitions and coaches’ tips all created specifically to be carried out in the safety of the family home or garden.
“We ran a competition last week on our Facebook group with prizes ranging from a set of GolPhin clubs to a goody bag. Last week’s three winners came from as far afield East Kilbride, Porto in Portugal and Orlando, Florida. It’s been so successful, we’re running it every week during lockdown.”
Alan Tait added that new GolPhin products are also available to help keep kids playing golf during lockdown.
“We have developed a Play@Home pack which kids and parents can purchase. Packs include a kids 7 iron, a putter, a bag of our oversized safety flipper balls and a selection of coloured cones to help the children set up games at home. These are all discounted with all the profit margin going back to PGA Professionals. We’re doing our best for the kids and the PGA members at the same time.”
For more details of GolPhin’s MyPathway2Golf and MyPathway2Golf@Home Apps log on to http://www.golphin.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To enter GolPhin’s Facebook competitions see facebook.com/golphinforkids