A critical aspect of player development is the need to introduce players to competitive environments that continually challenge their level and stage of development.
District and New Zealand based age group and open competitions are important steps that allow both talent identification and development to occur. The next step, for those players who excel, is an introduction to international competition. This provides the greater level of competition and experience required to further challenge and grow the higher performing players. It is this ongoing progression of competition that allows them to continue to test and hone their skills as they strive for success on the world stage.
Club golf is where an emerging player will first taste competitive golf and grow their love for the game. As the player develops technically and physically it will be appropriate for the player to compete in district age based events and then progress towards district open events. Playing competitive events on different courses will challenge the young developing golfers, who are likely to be in the ‘Learn to Compete’ stage of LTPD, to transfer skills learned training to the golf course and also develop on course tactical and mental skills.
Through success at domestic age and open events a player may be identified for district development programmes and representation which may start a player on their journey toward membership within the National Development Programme.
For the older and more developed golfers who are likely to be in the ‘Training to Compete’ and/or ‘Train to Excel’ stage of development, district open events become important not only for district selection and representation but also create opportunities for player preparation and fine tuning for their national and international events.
Over time the young developing golfers will be eligible to include national age group events on their golf calendar. This will give them experience of playing a national tournament course set-up and conditions against players of a similar age and stage of development.
As a player continues to progress onto district representation and national age group events they will be of a level that allows them to enter the national tournaments such as the North Island and South Island Strokeplay, New Zealand Strokeplay, New Zealand Amateur and The Charles Tour events. If not already, these players will be on the radar of the national selectors and may be involved in the National Junior Talent Identification and Development phase, to further refine their skill and grow New Zealand Golf’s understanding of their current and future ability.
National events will always play an important role in a player’s development programme whether they are age based for the younger ‘Learn to Compete’ stage golfers or the highest level of national events such as the New Zealand Amateur for the high performing golfers in the later stages of development. Playing competitive events is vital for players to develop and refine their skills as they look to succeed on the world stage.
International Age Group Tournaments
The first step is to enter international age group competition. The objective is to introduce players to this unfamiliar environment early, to allow their competitive play to develop within the appropriate player (age group) community, which is likely to be the higher performing ‘Train to Compete’ staged players.
Introducing age group players to international competition will challenge them in many ways, none more so than being faced with higher levels of competition within both an unfamiliar environment and new peer group.
Other equally important aspects of this phase are the organisational and planning requirement of international travel and the issues they experience while undertaking such a challenge. Cultural differences, climate and altitude changes as well as uniquely different course conditions and grass types also play their part in the ongoing development process.
An opportunity exists for players within the National Junior Talent Identification and Development phase and National Academy Programme phase to experience international competition within Australia as well as Asia and the U.S (although not exclusively). An example of such tournaments would be; Victorian Junior Masters, Srixon International (formally known as the Jack Newton Junior Championship), Greg Norman Junior Championships, Handa Master Juniors and the Australian Junior Championship.
While not currently on the national junior squad travel plan the U.S based Callaway Junior Worlds is well attended, as are the many AJGA events, by top juniors from around the world.
International Development Tournaments
Continual experience competing in international tournaments is a necessity for a player’s ongoing development. Players who have advanced through the age grade levels, and who meet the criteria of selection, will now be introduced to international open grade competition.
The difference in location, playing environments and course conditions continues to challenge at this stage and further experience gained from these opportunities continues to prepare the player for success. While they may have begun to succeed or even dominate at the age group stage they may take a step back as they enter this new phase.
A number of Australian events provide an ideal testing ground for National Academy players. With only relatively short travel periods required, the players are able to enter Golf Australia Ranking Events that feature on the R&A World Golf Rankings allowing New Zealand based players to advance their World Ranking. A sample of these events includes the Lake Macquarie Amateur, Riversdale Cup, Master of the Amateurs and the Australian Stroke Play and Amateur Championship.
For players in their second and third years of the National Academy Programme there is the opportunity to experience a different range of tournaments and conditions that can expand their experience further. An opportunity that exists at this time is to match the tournament location and type with the intended Professional Tour they may wish to pursue a membership of in the future. Such events include the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, Suntory Open, Korean Open, Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup, Argentina Amateur, British Amateur, US Amateur and the Canadian Amateur.
New Zealand Team Tournaments
There are numerous New Zealand team events which the selected players compete both domestically and internationally. International competition such as the Trans-Tasman Cup (Junior and Open), Nomura Cup, Queen Sirikit Cup, Astor Trophy, Ten Nations Cup and the World Amateur Championships all add to the ongoing development of the players selected and allow the very best to excel. For more on the process of selection into such teams please refer to the National Selection Policy document available in the high performance section of the www.golf.co.nz website.
International Tournament Campaigns
For the very best amateur players, the opportunity exists to test themselves against world class competition in a series of the most highly ranked international events available to them. Such a campaign will provide one of the final stepping stones for players emerging from the National Academy Programme through to the Rookie Assistance Phase.
Each international campaign is personalised to the individual and may have multiple objectives that meet set criteria as they target specific events. Currently the following tournaments may make up such a campaign;
Asia: Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, Suntory Open, Korean Open, Singapore Amateur, Hong Kong Amateur, China Amateur, Panasonic Open.
UK/Europe: Lytham Trophy, Irish Open Amateur, Welsh Open Amateur, Brabazon Trophy, Scottish
Open Amateur, St Andrews Links Trophy and The (British) Amateur.
USA/Canada: The Players Amateur, Southern Amateur, Western Amateur, Scratch Players Amateur, US Amateur, Canadian Amateur, Barrett Amateur.
For an exhaustive list of events that may make up part of an international tournament campaign see the links
The R&A and USGA World Amateur Golf Ranking event list for men and women:
Or the Scratch Players event list for men:
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