Saturday, 13 April 2013


Photo by Emma Friend
My  apologies for the delay since my last post, I have recently returned from a trip to Thailand. I was travelling as the tour manager of the South East Regional Academy of Sport (SERAS) Golf Team, who were participating in the World Schools Golf Challenge (WSGC) in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Our touring group composed of 5 athletes, Head Coach Chris Hearn, parent Gerrad Hanscombe, Executive Director Garry Lane, Board Member Geoff King and myself. We were in Thailand for 8 days, with the athletes participating in 4 competition rounds and 1 practice round. The WSGC consisted of over 30 teams from around the world attracting teams from countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, India and Thailand. The competitors had the privilege of playing on some of the best golf courses in Asia and probably some of the best in the world. For many of them it was also the first time they experienced playing on such magnificent course and also the first time using a caddy. All athletes learnt a lot from this trip on the golf course while experiencing very tough conditions that were rather different from what we are used to in Australia. This is included the greens were particularly hard to read and played differently as well as the very hot and humid weather conditions.

This experience was invaluable for our athletes, they learnt so much not only on the golf course, but off the golf course as well. The competition was held in a different country and for many of us in the group it was our first visit to Thailand and for a couple our first trip overseas. Hua Hin in Thailand provided us with a very cultural experience, and we were lucky we had time to participate in a few extra activities such as visiting the night markets, going elephant riding and catching a Tuk Tuk (a Thailand taxi). Simple tasks such as crossing the road on occasion proved to be a challenge with traffic/road rules very different from Australia. For many of the athletes it was their first trip away without family in attendance which provided a whole new challenge as they learnt the importance of  simple activities such as getting up and being ready on time each morning.

And myself? I also learnt a lot from the trip, I am not an avid golfer nor claim to be however being around the athletes as well as staff from other schools all week I was more than happy to listen and observe. I was amazed how much I could learn in such a short period of time. I can now take this knowledge back and apply this to my main job with the academy, overseeing the strength and conditioning of the athletes. The power of observation is a very important tool and I can now say I fully understand the benefit of not saying anything and just watching as so much can be learnt from this. From listening to conversation and slowly joining the dots between points to get a better understanding or hearing a comment and seeing it played out on the course.

I would like to finish by thanking everyone involved with the tournament - the WSGC organisers, the staff of Golf Asian, the staff from the other schools participating, all competitors and the SERAS staff and athletes for a great week. This was an experience that will live in my mind for a long time as I hope it does for everyone involved.

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