Regional golf often relies on the efforts of local champions to create pathways into the game for non-golfers. When it comes to the southern Whealbelt, few are as driven as Megan Henry to make a difference.
A community tennis coach for more than 20 years, Wagin-based Megan added community golf instructing to her armoury three years ago after completing Golf Australia’s Community Instructor (CI) accreditation.
Since then, she has introduced more than 2500 Wheatbelt children to golf via the MyGolf in Schools program, while hundreds of adults have taken part in her Get Into Golf community clinics.
Operating within a three-hour drive radius of Wagin, Megan clocks up thousands of kilometres each year in her bid to make golf and tennis more accessible.
Spending so much time on the road, it helps to have a dynamic personality and a ute-load of energy. Fortunately, Megan has both – and she puts her all into every session.
“I’m very mindful of the need to provide sporting opportunities at grassroots level,” she said. “My approach is to base my sessions around fun interactions and to be as inclusive as possible so that everyone feels welcome.”
“Megan has introduced more than 2500 Wheatbelt children to golf via the MyGolf in Schools program.”
Although tennis was her first sporting love, Megan played a lot of golf growing up and continues to do so today. She says that being able to share her passion for the game with an uninitiated audience is hugely motivating.
“I love to be a driver of change,” she explains. “And the beauty of golf is that it’s such an inclusive sport, almost anyone can play it.
“I’ve provided a lot of Golf in Schools sessions, which include students with differing learning abilities, and for them, golf is such a great sport as it’s inclusive for everyone – and it is. Golf’s incredibly holistic and that’s why I was so driven to become a CI.”
Helping hands along the way
Megan credits part of her success to the mentoring she has received since achieving her CI accreditation from PGA professional Emma Liebenau (Mount Lawley GC) and former pro Shaun Malone (now GM at Rockingham GC).
Having benefitted from helping hands on her own CI journey, Megan is now happy to pay it forward to others keen to follow a similar pathway. Two women who have completed their online CI accreditation have shadowed Megan this year to see firsthand how she goes about delivering her sessions – and Megan will always make time for more to follow suit.
“A lot of people have the knowledge and skill to deliver instruction, they just lack the confidence,” Megan says. “I’m in a fortunate position that I had 20 years of tennis coaching to fall back on when I started golf instruction. Not everyone has that level of experience, so I’m always very pleased to do what I can to support others and help build their confidence.”
“Grassroots CIs have such an important role to play in inspiring women and girls to give golf a go.”
Although there are fewer women CIs than men – mirroring the makeup of membership at many golf clubs – Megan believes they can play an exponentially important role in growing the game.
“Grassroots CIs have such an important role to play in encouraging take-up and inspiring women and girls to give golf a go,” she says. “For many women, the opportunity to receive instruction from another woman in a women-only environment is what makes the difference between them getting involved or not.
“So, the more women CIs we have out there in regional communities, the greater the likelihood of more women and girls being exposed to golf.”
In terms of job satisfaction, Megan couldn’t ask for more. “Personally, I have a lifelong commitment to coaching and development. I believe that if you’ve learned a skill, you should pass it on,” she says. “That’s the best part for me because getting others to love another sport is so rewarding. It’s what life’s all about!”
How you could become a Community Instructor
The Golf Australia Community Instructor Program provides online training and accreditation, equipping participants with the skills and knowledge to deliver national participation programs, such as MyGolf and Get Into Golf.
As an accredited Community Instructor, you can: –
- Provide support to your local PGA professional to extend their program offerings and assist the facility in increasing community involvement and membership at the club
- Be a primary deliverer of participation programs if there is no PGA professional at your club/ in your region
- Upskill as a teacher by completing the Community Instructor Teacher accreditation to run school/community participation programs
Under Golf Australia regulations, Community Instructors are limited to delivery of 15 hours of instruction per week up to a maximum of $15,000 per annum at a rate of $50 per hour (or $90 per session of the Sport Australia Sporting Schools program).
If you’d like to contact Megan about her community coaching, visit her website.