Page 2187 - Week 07 - Thursday, 29 June 2023

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competing against yourself rather than with a teammate. Our society’s obsession with sports puts a premium on athletes and athleticism, which can inspire young athletes with an inflated sense of self.

But what does golf provide young kids? Golf promotes overall physical fitness and is a great introductory sport for kids to get involved in, getting them away from the endlessly available screentime of TV shows and video games and out in the fresh air. The physical skills they learn in golf such as hand-eye coordination can carry over and help them succeed in other sports and develop lifelong healthy exercise habits.

A suggestion on how to gain a younger audience for golf includes ads that have younger players to break the stereotypes that confine the sport. Golf courses are safe, positive spaces and the sport is gentle with little chance of major injury. Unlike other popular kids’ sports such as soccer and AFL, where there is a higher chance of tackling injuries and concussions, golf is a relatively safe sport for kids to play.

Golf cultivates a love of nature. The game gets kids outside, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sunshine. All golf courses in Canberra are meticulously maintained and beautifully landscaped, allowing anyone who plays to enjoy the beauty of the trees and the flowers as well as a wide variety of birds and other animals that live in and around the course. Most golf courses in Canberra are implementing plans on preserving the wildlife and trying to use less water. For example, Murrumbidgee Golf Course has used couch grass which uses 80 per cent less water than standard grass.

Golf is also a great place for children to learn important social skills. Learning to be comfortable by themselves as well as working on the necessary skills to get along with others and build relationships can all come from playing golf. It is a great sport for the more introverted kids to play due to it being away from the hustle and bustle of the world. Additionally, golf can be played as a team sport, encouraging team spirit, relationship-building and healthy competition.

Golf fosters friendships. Any sport or club for kids can help them make friends, but the nature of golf especially encourages this aspect because golf can be played at an easy pace, you can generally carry on conversations easily while you play. That is why golf works so well for business meetings. Golfers commiserate with each other over a bad score, encourage each other as they go, and celebrate good scores together. Kids on golf teams often experience tight bonds and make lifelong friendships.

Golf builds business skills. This may sound funny, but golf does teach decision-making, etiquette, working with numbers and planning. Anyone who already knows the game has a leg up in the business world later, even if that is years in the future.

Do we want to live in a world of doubtful, over-achieving people or do we want to live in a world of community and peace? It is hard changing people’s minds, especially young people, but with the help of the Legislative Assembly we can change their minds and we can create a better world if we just try.

That concludes Jean’s speech. I want to thank Jean for her contribution to the ongoing conversation led in my office about young people and their eagerness to play sports here in the ACT. It is her perspective as a young person that brings fresh input to


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