TDP Athletes learn from three-time WA Open Champion

31st May 2022

On Sunday GolfWA held the 2nd of 5 Talent Development Program (TDP) sessions for Tier 1 athletes.

The GolfWA TDP is a 2 Tier academy which offers 3 (Tier 2) or 5 (Tier 1) sessions a year in addition to Strength and Conditioning screening at the start and end of the year to monitor progress.

Sunday was hosted by Interstate Open and Junior Coach Alex McKay, accompanied by Ackzel Donaldson and a Special Guest in 3 time WA Open winning Kim Felton who is the Tour Development Manager for PGA.

PGA Tour Development Manager, Kim Felton.

The program provides an off-course component to develop their skillsets. This was in the form of a talk with Kim Felton about his experiences as a junior, amateur and as a professional, and what pathways are available to aspiring golfers.

The key takeaways from the talk include:

1. Amateur and Junior Golf is some of the best parts of a golfer’s life, enjoy it, be confident and make the most of the opportunities by taking full ownership for your training and work ethic

2. Create a competitive and enjoyable performance environment by challenging yourself: Results & Fun is developed through simulation

  • Putting / chipping over and over with no task or challenge isn’t fun
  • Kim talked about going from hole to hole on a putting green and attempting to only 1 or 2 putts for 45 minutes or as long as you can…
  • If you can’t do it for 45 minutes, can you beat your best previous time? If you can do it for 45 minutes can you do it for longer putts and/or for a longer time?

3. Whilst Golf is something we want to pursue, education is critical. Stay in school, manage your workload and your time to be able to train hard and study

  • Interstate Junior and Open athlete Celine Chen mentioned she trains for 1-2 hours before school and then studies in the evenings during winter giving her more time to play and train at weekends

4. Games and competing against yourself is critical

  • Kim told a great story about a competition he played in as a pro wherein the final round he was in the top 10/15 and had a par 3 with water to one side, he hit the ball in the water and lost a significant number of places due to this
  • Kim was running short on Titleist balls from his sponsor and recently ordered 6 dozen more… but wanted to ensure he has no fear of making a shot like this in the future
  • Kim hit all of the 72 brand new balls from this Par 3 tee box to execute the shot he wanted to hit in the competition at the risk of losing the ball and reward of removing his fear of the shot
  • He created pressure and accountability in the knowledge he could not lose many balls as it is all he had for his upcoming tournaments, but at the same time told himself he had to hit the shot to at least the middle of the green


On course, the athletes worked on green reading with Ackzel Donaldson and ‘Fighting the Fear’ with Alex McKay. This was complemented by High Performance Athlete Amie Phobubpa assisting in the athlete testing on the putting green.

GolfWA are extremely proud to be able to support golfers in WA develop and improve and look forward to the upcoming TDP Tier 1 and 2 events coming up for the rest of the year. The TDP accepts entry through applications in November / December for the following year so if you missed out this year, be sure to keep your eyes out for applications closer to the end of the year.