Following a detailed review and careful consideration, New Zealand Golf has decided to no longer hold national U13 championships.

Firstly, and most importantly, New Zealand Golf remains very focused on supporting young people to play golf. We want more kids, playing more golf, and growing a love for the game that lasts a life time. Evidence of this focus can be seen via the development, and ongoing refinement, of our new youth golf programme LOVE Golf Futures (

Through the time and effort spent developing this programme, New Zealand Golf has been able to take a step back to look at what is best for the participants - rather than simply keep doing what has always been done.

We know that the youth are the future of our game, and as such know our role is to grow their love for golf over time. We want them to become lifelong participants, so to do this we must consider their needs and not those of adults.

Sport New Zealand and the recent research they have completed on youth sport has guided us as we developed the LOVE Golf Futures. We looked at this research, which included the voice of the participants, to see what they enjoy about sport, what they do not, as well as what aspects of development programmes and competition formats have a negative impact on their long-term involvement in sport. Click Here for further background and information on this detailed research.

New Zealand Golf wants to ensure all kids receive quality experiences in golf and better prepare young participants to reach their future potential recreational or competitive golfers, but to do this we must put their needs first, stressing that: 

Childhood success does not reliably predict adult success
We’re all different, and young people’s physical, emotional, social development doesn’t occur in a simple straightforward manner – or at the same speed. We need our competitive sporting opportunities to reflect this, rather than over-investing (both time and money) in just the kids who the show the most promise at a young age - an approach that overlooks late-developers.

Identifying athletes and specialising early is taking its toll on young people
Too many young athletes are specialising in one sport in the belief this is the best way for them to develop into elite adults. In truth, burnout, overuse injuries and declining motivation are more likely to be the outcomes of early specialisation. We need to delay selection decisions, and find ways to keep more young people involved in a range of quality experiences in competitive sport – for longer.

A focus on development should be emphasised over winning
We need to stop focusing on high performance and overemphasising ‘winning’ in youth sport. This approach is creating a lack of balance and leads to high workload and high pressure for our young people too soon. A focus on development and getting better is what young people want and what successful athletes and people focus on.

It was felt that including a U13 category at the New Zealand Age Group Championship was not in line with this approach. To this end New Zealand Golf has removed the U13 component of our national age group championship, to allow the focus of play and competition at this age and stage of development to be based at the club, hub and interclub level and within the Young Masters phase of the LOVE Golf Futures Programme, or other such junior programmes that focus on development and play over winning.



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