Coming through the ranks as a junior golfer Brian Affleck did a lot of self-learning.
Now a PGA of Canada teaching professional, he hopes junior golfers will have more opportunities to learn than he did.
Affleck admitted there was some help along the way from golfers like Lee Fanning at Abercrombie Country Club, but there wasn’t the same structure to junior programs that there is to today.
“I had very little guidance when I was a junior, so you just play with some peers to learn,” he said. “I played with a lot of older players that are better golfers and learned from watching them more than anything. Lee Fanning was very supportive of my golfing and helped me along the way, providing the most support I saw.”
This golf season he will be holding spring and summer programs for kids five to 16 years old at Eagle’s Chance Golf Center. He will also be helping to develop the junior program for Abercrombie Country Club. Both will be modelled based on the CN Future Links plan put in place by the PGA of Canada.
“This is really to get the juniors involved in the sport and teach them the fundamentals,” said Affleck. “The biggest thing is they need to learn how to have fun and what is fun about playing golf and being at a facility. If you make it fun it’s easy to get them to come back. I will be trying to make it as fun as possible for all the kids.”
With the continued focus on instructing, Affleck said he is playing less than he has in past years, focusing solely on Atlantic Canadian events. He also has a third child on the way this summer.
“Playing the extent I was is on hold for right now,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I can’t go back to that, but right now I will play events in Atlantic Canada similar to last year.”
Last year was his first true summer of focusing on instructing in Pictou County. Having never taken a formal golf lesson before in his life he said there was a learning curve for both him and his golfers.
“It was different,” he said with a laugh. “I was putting myself on the opposite end of things after never taking a lesson myself, but I fell in love with it. I was just as excited as they were when they did well and was thrilled every time they hit a good shot.”
During that time he also realized there is a major demand for instruction at all levels, but this year his primary focus is on young players.
“I was overwhelmed by the demand,” said Affleck. “I was just testing the waters for golf instruction in general and the amount of beginning golfers that have just retired or are just retiring that want to learn the game was amazing.
“This year I want to continue my focus on growing the game here, with a little more focus on the younger golfers because they’re the future of the game.”
Registration for the programs will take place tonight from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The spring programs run on Mondays for six weeks beginning on May 12. The summer programs (both July and August) run for three weeks on Tuesday and Thursdays. The first session runs from July 15 to July 31 before the second session from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.
They cost $75 per program. Each additional sibling costs $60.
For more information or if you are unable to attend the in-person registration tonight Affleck is also accepting registration via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-921-1973.
For adults looking for lessons he said he’ll be booking lessons as well. Simply contact him via phone or email.