Training for Samoa’s new generation of golfers

Renowned golf mentor and Samoan Scott Puailoa has arrived in Apia to help train the next generation of pro golfers.

“Golf For Kids” is a three-day programme targeting children aged 8-17 to improve their technical golf skills, and expose them to a sport with a wide range of international opportunities.

The United States Embassy in Samoa is sponsoring the programme, as part of its annual sports event, and recognised how golf has been utilised as a pathway towards American University scholarships.

The programme is held at Faleata Golf Course and Royal Samoa Country Club Fagali’i from September 26-29 and is split into four clinics for kids, and two sessions for coaches.

U.S Embassy programme manager, Benjamin Harding, said the Embassy is trying to leverage that natural pathway that golfers before have done.

Bringing a Samoan professional to Samoa will not only be a chance to share technical golf skills, but also highlight the success of local players.

Niko Vui is, one such player, is a Samoan who took up a golf scholarship to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and went on to compete in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (A.A.C).

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In July, five Samoan golfers attended a Junior World Championship in San Diego, and with the right family support and academic standing, could follow in Vui’s footsteps to attend prestigious universities. 

The programme itself was organised by Invest Samoa, the competitive golfing organisation in Samoa.

Invest organiser Richard Brown said golfing programmes for children create spaces for them to enjoy the game, while also learning in a competitive environment.

Golf has a relatively low profile in Samoa, something Mr Brown hopes to change.

“We want the kids to respect the game and enjoy it and hopefully introduce it to schools, where it can be another game you can compete in within schools.”

Invest Samoa will provide gear and refreshments for the clinics.

Mr. Brown says just like any other sport, golf is a way to better oneself.

“Golf allows you to concentrate, self-motivate yourself… you don’t allow the environment to control what you’re doing on the course.”

He said he is excited for Scott Puailoa to come to Samoa, because of his standing in international golf.

“He’s from American Samoa and he’s Samoan, period, he loves to be around his people.”

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