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Cafaro aiming to take junior programme to new heights


Highly-rated British PGA professional Adrian Cafaro has joined MST Golf Academy as head of junior golf and will be leading a revamp of the academy’s already successful junior programme.

The Scot brings with him close to two decades of experience in elite golf instruction, having most recently served as head of the golf department at Kaiwen Academy, a highly-rated international school in Haidian, Beijing. He spent over three years there developing and running the golf programmes and staff training, and was also in charge of selecting and coaching the school team.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the MST Golf Academy team at TPCKL and contribute my expertise towards teaching adults and juniors. Over the coming months I will be focusing on the junior coaching curriculum, bringing new ideas, methods and fun approaches towards learning to the juniors,” said Cafaro, who achieved the distinction of being a Fellow of the PGA after obtaining his Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Birmingham in 2012 focusing on junior golf development.

Cafaro stressed that it was important to make junior instruction age-appropriate and fun. “Making the junior class content appropriate for the students’ ages is crucial, bearing in mind that PGA Tour players all started golf in a fun environment surrounded by friends and role models,” he said.

“Research exists today to suggest that teaching juniors must include elements from the biopsychosocial model of development … to be more precise, looking after the social, environmental, psychological and physical aspects, to name but a few. Focus should not solely be from a theoretical technical model, which many programmes use today,” elaborated Cafaro, who also speaks Italian and Mandarin.

Prior to his stint at Kaiwen Academy, Cafaro was director of instruction at the British PGA Academy of Beijing for a year. Before moving to China, he was based at The North London Golf Academy, where he was the golf coach for the famous Harrow School for boys. Cafaro also coached the Middlesex county golf team for two years.

“Whether the junior is talented or prefers to participate recreationally, the early stages of learning must be filled with fun activities and interactions. Whilst this environment is created, the juniors will learn and be exposed to all the fundamentals of golf … grip, posture etc., along with rules, safety, etiquette and the right attitudes. An effective programme must support all these points and also crucially deal with how the programme is delivered,” stressed Cafaro, who is also a much sought-after speaker at golf shows and forums.

“Delivery and teaching style must coincide with ability and age. How a coach speaks to and challenges a six-year-old will not be the same as a 12-year-old. All our challenges and learning outcomes must be appropriately pitched, depending on what stage of development the child is on,” he went on.

Cafaro is confident that the revamped MST Golf Academy junior programme will be one of the best in the region. “Our goal is to offer Malaysia’s number one coaching programme and one of the best in Asia, using peer-reviewed research to drive forward its successes.”

MST Golf Academy’s director of instruction Travis van Djik noted that Cafaro ticked all the right boxes as the ideal person to head their junior programme.

“The junior programme is the backbone of our academy at TPC Kuala Lumpur and we are constantly working towards creating a more educational and fun experience for our juniors,” said van Djik. “We understand how important juniors are to grow the game of golf, and when we run a successful junior programme we are positively contributing to the golf industry in Malaysia. Of course we are always working towards finding talented students to nurture into junior champions, top amateurs and successful professionals.  We also realise that the game of golf teaches juniors important character counts such as honesty, integrity, discipline, manners and respect for elders, just to name a few.

“With all that in mind, we were looking for someone to take the lead in our mission to provide the best junior programme in the region. Adrian’s experience and passion for junior talent development ticked all the boxes and we are happy to welcome him to Malaysia and our professional coaching team.”

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