The road to professional golf is notoriously competitive and demanding. Often, students must choose between school and golf, as the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. But a new programme promises to make the journey smoother
If you’re a keen golfer with dreams of eventually going pro, imagine being able to develop and perfect your golf, learn from the best coaches and at the same time maintain your school progress and pursue your academic qualifications. Imagine a school where your teachers understand the pressures and demands of competing at the highest levels of golf, where they fully support your sporting aspirations and tailor the curriculum to your individual needs and schedule. Well, one Dubai school has turned all that into reality.
GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa recently launched its Golf Centre of Excellence in partnership with Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy. With a mission to provide its students with a first-class education and golf coaching programme that holistically prepares them for collegiate and professional golf, the Centre aims to develop the best golfing students in the region, promoting golfing excellence alongside high academic achievement.
Golfers enrolled in the Elite Golf Programme benefit from a bespoke curriculum and personalised timetable built around the student’s individual needs, enhanced with academic mentoring and college CV and application planning and support. While studying the National Curriculum for England, students are exposed to a multitude of science, mathematics and English objectives that can be taught through the game of golf. Pastoral care and support are also provided to ensure students manage schedules and maintain excellence in both their golf and education.
At the same time, world-class golf coaching will be provided by Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy based at the Els Club in Dubai Sports City. On offer is an individual golf development plan that includes one-on-one, group and on-course coaching, as well as fitness, strength, conditioning and mental training in state-of-the-art facilities. Midweek club membership and transportation between the Els Club and school will also be arranged.
“It was Gary Player who said, ‘The more I work and practice, the luckier I seem to get’. Being a golfer myself, I am acutely aware of the importance of practice and the impact it has on a person’s game,” said Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO of GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa. “The partnership we have developed with Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy presents a unique opportunity to develop great potential at a young age and maximise the chance for a young golfer to be successful. I am excited about the prospect of working with the golfing superstars of tomorrow and supporting their journey.”
Claude Harmon III, who owns Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy and coaches some of the world’s best players, said: “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for kids from GEMS FirstPoint School to get into a scholarship programme at my academy at the Els Club. We’ve had some really good success in the last three or four years with players that have started at a young age, which shows that it is possible to take up golf early and, if you take it seriously, go on to play College Golf in America. We’ve done a great job at developing junior players and we have a good idea of what it takes to get to the next level, so it’s exciting for kids in this region to have a viable roadmap to success.”
The Elite Golf Programme is open to GEMS FirstPoint School students aged 11-18 years. Scholarships for elite golfers are also available, with student applications reviewed and awarded by the school’s scholarship committee on an annual basis to ensure continuous excellence.