Dedicated Douglass-Norris a shining light in golf - PGA of Australia

Dedicated Douglass-Norris a shining light in golf

Teaching Professional at the Grange Golf Club in South Australia, Sarah Douglass-Norris loves every part of her job.

Although she has been at the Grange for seven years, Sarah boasts an incredible breadth of experience.

A former professional player overseas, a qualified teacher and briefly a small-business owner, Sarah brings a well-rounded perspective and unwavering passion to help her students improve every time she steps on the lesson tee.

“Every single part of my role lights me up inside,” she beams. “Whether it is helping beginners hit that perfect first shot, getting out on the course for the first time, or seeing good golfers improve on their journey as well.

“Just seeing people with great enthusiasm is wonderful.”

That unbridled joy in golf has been a constant presence in Sarah’s life.

Having grown up around the game, she was always fond of it, and as her talent shone at an early stage, a career in golf gradually became a reality.

“I knew I wanted to be a professional golfer one day. I was determined to take my playing as far as possible,” she recalls.

That said, a promise to her parents meant that Sarah completed a teaching degree at university. And so, it was with a qualification to teach Japanese in her back pocket, that Sarah set off overseas to try and make it as a golfer.

A period of profound learning for her, Sarah recognises that it was also one that was invaluable in her development.

“I learnt so much travelling around,” she says. I tried to make it in Japan and in various parts of the world, before giving it one final crack in Europe where I played on the Ladies European Tour for five years.

“It was tough, I know what it can be like living down on your last dollar– dad even offered me my wedding money to help me through!”

The challenges notwithstanding, Sarah took away some cherished memories, and loved the chance to test herself against the best.

“Playing against the likes of Laura Davies, Karrie Webb and those girls in Europe was amazing,” she reflects. “It really was like a dream come true.”

Upon her return to Australia, Sarah threw herself out there, reaching out to old golf contacts to offer her services as a coach.

From running junior programs, women’s clinics and private sessions where she could, Sarah was offered honorary membership of Flagstaff Hill Golf Club, before moving across to the Grange Golf Club.

“It was a bit difficult at first, but I just jumped in to offering school sport programs across Adelaide – which I really enjoyed – and it gave me the chance to reconnect with my teaching days.”

Now settled at Grange where she is responsible for coaching the club’s membership, through one-on-one sessions, as well as larger group clinics, Sarah can’t get enough.

She also offers MyGolf clinics alongside her mother, who is a qualified Community Instructor; her boundless passion the hallmark of her work as a PGA Professional.

“I just love seeing players of all ages embrace the game and realise how much fun it can be.”

Sarah is also heartened by what she describes as an “amazing” shift in the number of women and girls she has seen playing the game.

When she started as a junior, Sarah recalls being one of just two girls out of a group of 130 at Flagstaff Hill.

“We certainly felt like a minority at that time, but there’s no doubt that has changed significantly.

I look at it now and my daughter has been given so many opportunities in golf, she reflects. “It’s a great thing, because it always used to be the other way around.”

To that end, Sarah believes that golf is doing a great job to open itself up to more players than ever before, and is keen to be part of that process herself.

As a female PGA Professional, she recognises that she has the platform to inspire the next generation, showing them that golf – and indeed a career in the sport – is a realistic possibility.

“If more girls see more female coaches and Professionals, they believe that there is a pathway for them.

“Whatever we can do to create more affordable and realistic options for girls in golf is vital. I’m very passionate about exposing more people to the game in more places than ever before.”

For more information on Women and Girls month, click HERE

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