Phase One

District led, New Zealand Golf supported, Talent Identification and Development


Throughout New Zealand Golf’s regional sports organisations (the District Associations), exist various academy and squad based development programmes. The best emerging young talent within these programmes will be assessed through a number of talent identification (TiD) protocols.

Such assessments will measure golf performance mastery as well as other dimensions for success across five key performance skill areas. Information gathered during the TiD sessions will assist the players coaching support team in tailoring individual programmes specific to the players’ needs.

This stage of the National Development Programme will enable a greater understanding of the emerging players within the district programmes, it will also assist the districts and their coaching support teams with individualised player information that will assist their players’ long term development.

Long Term Player Development Stage: Learn to Compete

The high performing district players at this phase of the National Player Development Programme are likely to be in the ‘Learn to Compete’ phase of development.

The fundamental movement skills and golf specific skills the player has learnt in the earlier stages of development now need to be put to the test in appropriate competition. This can include senior club, junior district representation and events, and for the higher performers regional and national age group events (like the North/South Island and NZ Under 19 events).

It is important that by this stage of development the player has developed good technical proficiency of all golf skills and has good general physical conditioning. ‘Learn to Compete’ is now about taking these skills and conditioning, and developing their mental and tactical skills through learning to compete at age appropriate events while establishing their pre, competition and post competition routines.

The player should still be spending 60 per cent of their time in developing their skills and conditioning base in a tailored programme addressing their strengths and weaknesses; and 40 per cent of their time specifically training, preparing and playing in appropriate competitive events.

Therefore it is important that players are now introduced to periodised planning. This is to ensure the player has enough skill development training time and has a focus on only a few key events within a more limited and age appropriate tournament schedule.

Phase Two

National Junior Talent Identification and Development


Using evidence based data, such as that gathered during phase one and from district and national age group events and order of merit results, groups of players will be brought together in a camp format to continue to support the development of this group of emerging players. These players will also show they possess the necessary behavioural traits to continue to improve.

This phase enhances the player’s district led development programmes, by providing the player with further information, resources and knowledge across tactical, physical, mental and behavioural performance skills as appropriate to their stage of development.

Players may learn about short game performance considerations; pre and post competition routines including performance evaluation and how this information could be used for goal setting and planning; physical development, especially the impact of posture on the golf swing; mind skills and the importance of having a growth mind set; and what/how the players need to continue to develop in order to be selected for national team representation.

Performance testing and monitoring is also an important part of this phase to track how the players are progressing and to provide current data and information to the players coaching support team for their individualised training programmes.

This stage focuses on decentralised player development and refinement prior to advancing to the National Academy. While this level may be a stepping stone along the pathway to the National Academy such progression is not guaranteed.

This phase of the development programme will target those players who may represent New Zealand at age group squad or international team events (as a junior aged phase it is likely a number players will move through this level of support with only the hardest working, and most committed to their progression being offered membership to the next phase).

Long Term Player Development Stage: Train to Compete

It is likely that the high performing players identified in these phases will be in the ‘Train to Compete’ stage of development. All stages of development are important in the pathway of a players long term development.

But this stage sees the player take their chosen number one sport of golf to the next level of performance by training based on a key philosophy that ‘excellence takes time’ - while the 10,000 hours concept of deep deliberate training to reach an expert level of performance is well known, golf may well take double that figure to reach a professional level of mastery.

This phase sees the player fully commit to the sport year round and highly focused on training to reach their performance goals. The player and their coaching support team need to understand the players strengths and weaknesses across all performance skill areas. They should have a tailored and periodised plan to address these and prepare for key competitive events (likely to be national age group events and international age group events for the higher performers).

It is when the player reaches this stage of development that there is a shift in the time spent training versus time in competition and competition specific training ratio and at this stage is 50:50.

Therefore training needs to be of high intensity and specific to the player’s performance and personal goals. The window of opportunity to continue skill development is smaller as they now direct more time to competition and preparing for competition by developing their tactical (cognitive development) and mental skills.

For players to achieve high intensity/high quality training they need to understand and utilise the difference in styles of golf specific training which include blocked (distributed and varied) and random practice. There is also the need to focus greater time on short game over long game (approximately a ratio of 70:30) practice.



Phase Three

The National Academy Programme


The players selected to join this level of the National Development Programme will be deemed those most likely to go on to successfully represent New Zealand and become successful on the world stage. Selection at this level is based on both the performance of the player and their ability to develop, or continue to develop, within a structured programme.

A player who is selected into the National Academy will receive support in the form of clothing and equipment as well as funding for their key service providers such as their:

  • Primary coach
  • Sports psychologist
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Golf specific physiotherapist

Importantly they will also have funding assistance to ensure their attendance at national events throughout their term in the Academy. For the Academy players, who are heading towards or are now in the Train to Excel LTPD stage, there will be a contestable ‘International Tournament Campaign Fund’ (ITCF) to help assist them to create and manage their own international tournament campaigns.

The levels of investment into each player, and their development programmes, continue to become more personalised and specific. A player’s progress along their own developmental pathway, as well as their ability to best utilise such support, is considered when allocating support in this phase.

Long Term Player Development: Train to Excel

This stage is the final preparation stage in the player’s long term development. All of the golfer’s physical, technical, tactical, psychological and organisational skills should now be well established so the player can focus on the full optimisation of their performance. This is reflected in the training to competition ratio moving to 25:75. A player should be playing about 25 to 40 events a year. Therefore to be successful at this stage a player needs to not just understand but be highly efficient in their own planning and preparation. A players training and event preparation is based on peaking for major competitions to prevent over training and performance fatigue that can lead to injury.

The tournament pathway is a crucial element at this stage of a player’s development. International amateur events and professional events such as The Charles Tour are crucial for players at this stage to compete in to test their skills, compete and continue to develop and refine their skills for the professional world stage.

Development at this level is about refinement of all skills including organisational and behavioral skills that become more important as players expand their international experience. Performing on the world stage is not just about how the player plays the game, but also how they manage their life in regards to planning, financial management, media management, how to utilise a caddie and how well they adapt to different environmental conditions and cultures.

Phase Four

Rookie Professional Assistance


This programme is dedicated to provide assistance to selected rookie professionals as they continue to refine their skills and further their experience on the international stage during their first year(s) at the professional level. Under set terms and conditions a limited number of players could be supported on a yearly basis. Players who had successfully progressed through the New Zealand Golf Player Development Programme phases could be eligible for support while at this important stage of development.

Support in this programme may include sourcing and retaining key sponsors for the player; performance testing and monitoring using latest technology; and assistance with international event invites and programme funding. It is expected that players at this level have a support team and the self-management skills for organizing and planning their event schedule and training programme. It is also expected that the support provided at this phase is just to ensure that there is the continued support to bridge the gap between the National Academy Programme and having an established professional career.

Long Term Player Development: Excel

This phase of development is not too different from the previous ‘Train to Excel’ stage. The main difference being that the player reaches this stage of development when they have achieved playing success at the highest international amateur level and/or competes regularly holding a major tour card (PGA, LPGA, European, Ladies European, One Asia, Japan or JLPGA).

This stage of the LTPD model is not about development but about maintaining a fulfilling and healthy career in the game through continual management of a playing and training schedule.