GGYA participants bag free Ocean Club golf lesson

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On Saturday, June 25, Atlantis hosted a golf clinic for 70 participants in the Governor General’s Youth Award as a part of its weekend of activities which culminated in the 20th Annual Duke of Edinburgh Cup Bahamas Semifinals Charity Golf Tournament at Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island. Pictured here are participants with Atlantis officials. Photo courtesy of Bahamas Visual Services/Atlantis

When Makelia Moxey arrived at Ocean Club Gulf Course for the start of a golf clinic hosted by Atlantis, little could she imagine leaving with a new iPhone 13 courtesy of Aliv

“I was shocked. I was very proud of myself. I tend to have good luck by the Lord, but this is the best prize I’ve ever won,” said the 16-year-old student of C.C. Sweeting Senior High. 

The rising twelfth grader was one of 70 participants in the Governor General Youth Award (GGYA) who flocked to the 18-hole par 72 championship course, stretching over 7,100 yards on Paradise Island to take full advantage of the free lesson provided Saturday [June 25] by Class A golf professional, Mike Simms, Ocean Club’s director of instruction

The experience was part of a weekend of activities affiliated with the 20th Annual Duke of Edinburgh Cup Bahamas Semifinals Charity Golf Tournament. It was held this past Sunday under the patronage of Governor General Sir Cornelius A. Smith, and Lady Clara Smith in conjunction with Atlantis, Paradise Island. 

Proceeds raised from the event go to fund GGYA, the name by which the Duke of Edinburgh International Award is known in The Bahamas. Hundreds of registered participants work through 38 units on seven islands with over 100 volunteers helping to power the programme open to persons 14-24 years old. Each participant in the Award learns a skill, must improve their physical fitness, volunteer in their community and experience a team adventure in an unfamiliar environment.  

Saturday’s golf clinic came about as Atlantis sought to do something different to mark the momentous anniversary of GGYA’s biggest fundraising initiative. 

“We wanted to introduce an element that brings students into the tournament itself and provide them with exposure to golf that they would not have necessarily had previously,” said Viana Gardiner, vice president of public affairs and special projects at Atlantis. 

“We also thought participants could use the time in fulfillment of their physical activity component of their programme. Plus, there was the opportunity to engage with golf professionals and Atlantis executives. All of it is to benefit their personal development. As many positive seeds as we are able to plant in them that’s what we want to do.” 

Young people took in the session – along with the amazing greens, spectacular views and immaculate fairways. Golf pro Simms maximized the tee time with an overview of the basics: ball position, alignment and how to finish the golf swing.  

Still, it’s only so much one could teach in a single lesson.  

“To learn a golf swing it takes time and you should never rush it. You should aways get professional help when you first start. It’s really essential if you want to play well,” he advised. 

Simms kept it fun and for Moxey, parts of the lesson stuck. She didn’t score a hole-in-one, but she came the closest, which bagged her the first-place prize in the friendly but fierce competition capping off the golf clinic. 

“We have so many world class athletes that are Bahamian – in basketball, baseball. You never know where the next Tiger Woods could come from. It could be from The Bahamas, and it could have started right here at Ocean Club Gulf Course this morning,” said Gardiner. 

Second and third place winners, C.C. Sweeting’s Prishae Smith and Kingsway’s Raphelita Hanna received two passes each to Altantis’ popular water park, Aquaventure, which features thrilling slides and other attractions. 

GGYA participants Hallel Dixon and Ian Davis didn’t win prizes, yet it remained a rewarding experience for both. 

“This was something new for me. I was excited when I heard about it. I definitely wanted to come out,” said Dixon, a rising twelfth grader at Kingsway Academy. “After this, I think I might try golf out.” 

Davis, a 2022 graduate of St John’s, echoed a similar sentiment.  

“It was my first-time golfing. I thought it was amazing. It’s a fun and relaxing sport.” 

According to GGYA’S national director, Jacquetta Lightbourne-Maycock the Award is all about challenging youth to discover their potential and find their purpose, passion and place in the world. That comes through broadening their horizon. 

“Ninety-nine percent of them had never participated in golf prior to this experience. This was a first for them. This is one of our main goals, supporting non formal education which enhances young people as individuals. This golf clinic definitely challenged young people to discover something new.” 

Writer: Tosheena Robinson BSc, MSc

Golf clinic prize winners were Raphelita Hanna (third), Prishae Smith (second) and Makelia Moxey (first) pictured with Vaughn Roberts, senior vice president of government affairs and special projects at Atlantis. Moxey won a new iPhone 13 courtesy of Aliv, while Smith and Hanna each received two passes to Altantis’ Aquaventure water park. Photo courtesy of Bahamas Visual Services/Atlantis

On Saturday, June 25, Class A golf professional, Mike Simms, Ocean Club’s director of instruction taught GGYA participants some golf basics: ball position, alignment and how to finish the golf swing. Photo courtesy of Bahamas Visual Services/Atlantis