Guernsey’s junior golfers are in safe hands with volunteer Val Austin.
When not out on the course herself, the current RGGC Ladies Captain can be found supporting and nurturing younger players.
‘Every Sunday pretty much last year Val would turn up to ensure the players were out on the course on time and would walk the course ensuring they were all well looked after and in case any questions or issues were to occur,’ said Phil Sykes, RGGC Club Professional.
‘Val also organised a group of helpers each week that would come along and support her in her efforts to ensure the players all had an enjoyable day. Val is not of younger years, yet she works tirelessly to support these players and is out on the course 4 to 6 hours at a time. Pretty much her Sundays are not her own,’ said Phil.
Val thoroughly enjoys working with the junior golfers.
‘We can be out on the course spotting for them or just talking to them and encouraging their game,’ said Val.
‘They are a great bunch of kids. You can’t not be behind them. You’ve got to have fun.’
Val also spends time talking to the parents of the junior golfers to make sure they know what’s happening and she’s even persuaded some of them to take up the game themselves.
‘I get a huge amount out of volunteering. I love working with the kids and talking to their parents.
‘It’s so rewarding. I love to see the kids that are really keen on sport develop their game; it’s just brilliant. Their confidence increases as they start to win in golf and their handicap comes down.’
Val is keen to encourage more girls to take up golf and is delighted to see initiatives such as the Golf in Schools programme and the Specsavers Youth Games introducing new children to the game.
‘There are so many sports for children to choose from now but in many cases, sport is what is keeping the kids off the streets and is helping to build their confidence and new friendships.’
Phil is clear that Val and her team of helpers are a real asset to Junior Golf.
‘It would make things a lot harder to achieve for our young island golfers if it were not for Val and the team she has gathered,’ said Phil.
Val Austin is pictured with junior golfer Chloe Gaudion (left) and Junior Captain Chloe Domaille (right)