Changes that make Singapore golf a success

In the past 5 years, at the biennial Southeast Asian Games (a.k.a SEA Games), Singapore has achieved outstanding achivements as they always get at least 1 gold medal.

In 2017, Singapore men's team consisted of Gregory Foo, Joshua Shou, Marc Ong and Joshua Ho won the gold medal by defeating Thailand in the play-off after the two drew 1.5 - 1.5 in the final on Mines Resort & Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur.

Two years later in the Philippines, history was made for the Lion City when James Leow scored a birdie on the last hole to beat Tanapat Pichaikool (Thailand) by 1 stroke to win the gold medal in the men’s singles league. This is Singapore's first singles gold medal in 30 years since Samson Gimson's victory at the 1989 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Chairman of Singapore Golf Association and Golf Team at SEA Games 30.

In addition to the two gold medals just mentioned, in the last two SEA Games Singapore also won 2 silver medals in the men’s singles and team league. Along with that, at the Putra Cup 2019, which took place at Dam Vac golf course, Singapore also ended Thailand's dominance when winning gold medals in both men's leagues.

In order to achieve these successes, it was extremely important for the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) to have a change n their vision. In which, the SGA had restructured the coaching programs since they cooperated full-time with coach Matt Ballard since 2015.

Coach Matt Ballard and the Singapore team at the Putra Cup 2019.

Matt Ballard is a member of the PGA Australia, having competed professionally for 14 years in many tournaments such as the Australasian Tour, One Asia Tour and Japan Tour. After retiring, Matt focused on coaching and has worked with many Tour Pro including former World No. 1 golfer-Adam Scott. His strength is the short game, he is always interested in learning new things, tries incorporating technique, strength and mental performance into his approach to the game.

Used to be a professional player himself as well as the captain of the Queensland amateur golf team and a member of the Australian National Team, Matt Ballard has a thoroughly understanding of young golfers’ mindset. In order to secure a partnership with Matt Ballard, SGA had to pick out from more than 50 applicants from around the world and then gave Matt full delagation in the training process.

Matt Ballard will be the person primarily responsible for the training of the national team. To recruit more new faces for the team, the Singapore Golf Association also opens many competitions for young golfers. The SGA and its partners Lexus and HSBC open a series of tournaments includes SGA Junior Golf Challenge Series, SGA Junior Golf Day and HSBC Youth Golf Challenge, or SGA-Mandai Junior Golf Series taking place every Wednesday for young players from 6 to 12 years old. Recently, SGA appointed Joshua Shou - who, alongside with his teammates, won gold medals at SEA Games 29th, to join the coaching staff responsible for training new talents. And in addition to the current golfers in the national team, SGA also selected 40 more golfers between the age of 6 and 12 into its future lineup to focus on training.

HSBC Young Golf Challenge is one of the youth tournaments of the Singapore Golf Association.

At the 31st SEA Games, Ryan Ang, Justin Kuk, Hiroshi Tai and Wong Qi Wen (Male) and Aloysa Atienza, Hailey Loh and Inez Ng (Female) are athletes who will represent Singapore. Their aim is to defend the Men's Singles Gold Medal and won the Team league’s Gold Medal. For the SGA, the 31st SEA Games will be an important step for their golfers to continue to head towards other major tournaments in the year, and this will maintain to be an assessment for the effectiveness of the changes that have been done.

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