Photograph courtesy of Tristan Jones
To most, the lifestyle of a professional golfer seems glamourous. A new destination every week, playing some of the best courses in the country and the world. But the reality for the majority of professionals is far from glamourous. It’s a routine of sitting in the car or plane for countless hours, spending long days at the course, and seeing the insides of some not-so-impressive hotel rooms. All to turn around and do it again the next week, without ever really “seeing” the places you have just spent 7 days of your life.
For Hayley Bettencourt, who has a playing history to rival many on the ALPG Tour, the reality of playing the game as her primary form of income lost it’s appeal. Although she says golf is the greatest challenge she has ever faced, and she has loved every minute of her playing career, she wanted to find a path that combined all of the fun things in her life. This was the beginning of an idea that went to on to form Trekking Golf Coaches.
Rather than flying between events and staying in expensive hotels, Bettencourt and her boyfriend Braden Becker travel with their camper trailer across remote areas of Australia. This quickly allowed them to witness some of Mother Nature’s greatest creations, as well as immerse themselves in the spirit and culture of outback Australia. From their experiences travelling through these areas, the pair found a need at rural golf courses for services such as coaching and club repairs. Bettencourt shares, “We want to support these clubs for their future and for the future of the game of golf.”
From this, Trekking Golf Coaches was formed in January 2018 in an attempt to bridge a gap they have identified in the Australian golf industry.
“We would like to be able to visit these clubs regularly throughout the year and provide services to members and the local community. It is vital for the future of golf to educate as many people as possible about how good this game is for you and get them interested in something that so many people love and enjoy.”
Bettencourt and Becker plan to change the way people see the sport in rural towns and that it is a sport that can be played anywhere.
"If you want to do a bit of bunker practice but don't live near a course – the beach is the perfect place for that. It's the same for hitting some irons - the local football oval can act as a surrogate if there is no range nearby. The idea is to learn the skills you need for golf without restrictions."
The vision for the future of Trekking Golf Coaches is to operate a transportable pro-shop with similar services and products available to those members at courses in metropolitan areas. The pair also envision a team of representatives in each state that will help to provide services to those clubs in need. Though for the time being, Bettencourt and Becker will continue trekking across the country with their camper trailer in tow competing in events and offering their services and a new style of golf to those clubs along the way.
Their next stretch of events is coming up soon with the Western Australia swing of the PGA Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series. The series kicks off on May 17th throughout Perth Metropolitan clubs before working their way down south, and then heading back up the north coast a few weeks later.
For more information about Trekking Golf Coaches, check out their website: https://www.trekkinggolfcoaches.org/
Or follow their travels on social media.