The new SGA squads for 2023 were unveiled yesterday Thursday (Feb 16), at the Singapore Island Country Club. Out of the selected 40 golfers, 13 will form the National Squad, where one of their core trainings will be to how to handle and perform under pressure, which will be useful for these elite amateur players during major international events. The Development Squad will consist of 11 players, where they will undergo regular advanced level testing and scoring. 16 players will make up the Junior Squad, where education on developing fundamentals and discipline will be the focus.
2023 will be another event-filled year with key events as follows:
- 32nd SEA Games from 8-13 May at Garden City Golf Club in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The team’s selection will be made by the end of February 2023.
- 19th Asian Games to be held in September at West Lake International Golf Course in Hangzhou, China. This will be the first-time professional golfers will be included at the Asian Games.
- The 2023 World Amateur Team Championships (WATC), which will be held at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. This marks the first time the event, which dates back to 1958, will be held in the Middle East. It also will be the first to be held with a reduced scope of one golf course and 36 teams.
- The 5th Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) will be played in Singapore at Singapore Island Country Club (The New Course) from 9-12 March 2023, with eight Singaporeans to be fielded. The inaugural edition was played in 2018 at Sentosa Golf Club and was won by Atthaya Thitikul.
- The 14th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) will be return to Royal Melbourne Golf Club from October 26-29, nine years after the Championship was hosted at the venue in 2014.
“We aim to provide a high-quality training programme to equip our experienced players to deliver results in upcoming major tournaments while identifying and developing a squad of younger players for the future. New National Coach Murray Smit and Assistant Coach Joshua Shou will lead the training programme that will also include access to best-in-class external resources in areas such as fitness, nutrition and mental preparation, ” said Tim Pinnegar, Chairman of SGA’s Training & Development Sub-Committee.
SGA has also announced the appointment of new National Coach Murray Smit from South Africa, who will start on 1 April 2023. Smit has worked with multiple Sunshine Tour Professionals as well as elite junior and amateur golfers in South Africa. He was awarded the PGA of South Africa’s National Coach Of The Year in 2021 and has won Regional Coach Of The Year award (Western Cape) in 2020, 2021, 2022.
“It is an incredible honour to become National Coach of the SGA. Matt Ballard put fantastic structures in place during his four-year tenure and I am looking forward to building on those strong foundations. I am excited to work with many of the exceptional young golfers in Singapore, helping them develop into the great people and golfers that they aspire to become,” said Smit on his appointment.
While Smit’s focus will be preparing Singapore’s elite amateurs for major international events, he will also work closely with SGA Assistant National Coach Joshua Shou on strengthening the SGA junior development program, which has recently been given a boost with new sponsor EFG Bank joining Lexus as a sponsor for the SGA.
SGA’s Junior Development Program has reaped results since the Future Squad was introduced in 2020 for talented young golfers aged between 6-12. Aamiya Koul, 11 years old, was part of the Future Squad since 2020 and been provided opportunities to compete at SGA junior events such as the weekly SGA-Mandai Junior Golf Series. She was sent by SGA to the Pondok Indah International Junior Golf Championship in December 2022, where she won the girls ‘C’ Division with rounds of 80 and 76. She has been inducted to the SGA Junior Squad in 2023.
“Aamiya’s journey is a testament to SGA’s commitment in our junior development program. Junior development remains a key pillar for SGA and we will continue to build on the pathways to produce Singapore’s future golfing champions,” said Ng Luo Yi, Chairman of SGA’s Junior Development Sub-Committee.