KUALA LUMPUR, 9 Jan – Thirteen tournament victories and multiple national representations were among the success stories of 12 junior golfers who received their Certificate of Excellence awards from the Toyota Tour Elite Junior Programme (TTEJP) last Thursday.
The inception of the TTEJP last year churned out results above expectations through a comprehensive eight-week national talent programme that included performance training, technical training and tournament exposure.
Lim Hao Yu, Adif Haikal, Ammar Aiman, Ajmal Amin, Ammer Aiman, Wan Hasrul Daniel, Putri Natasha, Aarthi Ganesan, Andrea Chin, Nur Ain Qistina, Eireen Syafeeya and Soniya Chandra were the 12 junior golfers who received their Certificate of Excellence at the MST Golf Arena at The Gardens Mall.
Of the lot, Adif was one of the standout performers after the 16-year-old bagged four tournament victories during the TTEJP duration.
The teenager, who also posted the joint lowest under-par score of 66, testified how the programme changed his outlook on the game, while also helping to elevate his short game and course management.
“The course management helped me to achieve better scores, and the introduction of the fitness regime and physiotherapy helped me build fitness and manage my body condition better.
“Playing against the pros was also a priceless experience. In my first tournament, I did well by finishing in the top-23 and it is an experience I will cherish.
“This programme has helped improve my overall game which I am grateful for,” said Adif, who picked up the sport after hitting a great shot at the driving range when he was 10 which impressed his dad to buy him his first golf set the same day.
For Andrea Chin, learning how to chip in tough conditions turned out to be one of her biggest assets as the Penangite racked up two title triumphs at the Sports Excel Premier and MGA Presidents Cup during her stint with the TTEJP.
The 16-year-old, who also notched the biggest handicap improvement among the junior golfers from 8 to 2, wants to use this exposure to apply for a full scholarship to pursue college golf in the United States.
“Golf is a fantastic sport that improves your mental and physical wellbeing, and I would like to encourage all young people to give it a try,” she said.
Some of the training regimes allowed these aspiring professionals to improve their ball striking quality, swing dynamics, short game technique and optimise their game strategy.
Besides that, the TTEJP also incorporated technologies that spurred the golfers’ progress.
A 3D Motion Technology evaluated their club and body movement, while a launch monitor provided club and ball data.
High speed cameras with Swing Catalyst software were also equipped to give the players a total swing analysis for improvement.
As a result, these juniors began to stamp their mark big time in tournaments.
During the TTEJP, a total of eight golfers won 13 tournaments both on the domestic and international scene.
During this period, 11 of them also posted as many runner-up finishes. Statistics back their achievements, with 67 percent of players improving their handicap after they were roped
into the TTEJP, while 80 percent of them recorded an improvement on their average score.
The coaches were rated excellent by the students, who also felt the eight-week programme duration sufficed to enhance their game.
TTEJP Programme Director Chris Marrs was elated with the golfers’ success in the short span of time.
“We only had four months with eight weeks of guiding these junior golfers, and despite that we achieved many podium finishes. The achievement of the group as a whole was impressive, especially the players improved average scoring by an impressive reduction of 33 strokes and a combined total of 16.1 Handicap reduction.
“This is truly impressive for top level players. Besides that, 10 of these 12 golfers represented their country during the programme period. All these were results above our expectations,” said Marrs, an Elite Master Instructor and Head of Junior Development Programme at MST Golf Academy.
The TTEJP does not plan on resting on its laurels and aims to continue making strides for the benefits of these players.
This includes expanding the programme to a one-year period, managing players schedule and tournament logistics and introducing an alumni group from last year to motivate the class of 2024.
The TTEJP is a programme of the Toyota Tour aimed at accelerating the next generation of golf champions and delivered by MST Golf Academy.