For almost three decades, Ellesha Michie has been involved in golf in one way or another.
Having found her passion as a coach, she now takes great pride in helping All-Abilities players get into golf, driven to help everyone love the game.
After turning professional at the end of 2012, Michie played on the ALPG Tour in 2013. A life-long dream achieved, she took the bold step of opening her own business – EM Golf Coaching, as Michie realised that for her, fulfilment in golf lies in helping others.
“That’s when I really found my passion,” she recalls.
“Working with golfers of all ages and abilities to help them reach their potential.”
Having coached under her Membership with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Association (now WPGA) for a number of years, Ellesha completed a transition program in 2021 to become a Full Member of the PGA of Australia. A source of great pride, it has also allowed her to advance her work in All-Abilities coaching.
“It’s a very proud feeling for me. To associate my name with the PGA badge has opened up a number of opportunities – in particular my All-Abilities coaching,” Michie adds.
Now the Head Teaching Professional at Gunabul Homestead Par 3 Golf Course, Michie is taking All-Abilities golf to the next level in the Gympie region just north of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Alongside Empower Golf and Wellness Australia Group, Michie provides free monthly clinics to NDIS clients, dedicated to making the game more accessible to more people than ever before.
“We just give them the chance to come along, have a hit and see if they like golf,” she explains of the clinics she offers.
“From there, if they like it, we move into regular one-on-one golf lessons.
“The whole idea is to get All-Abilities golfers more engaged, to get them to give it a go and have some fun.”
Determined to give her students the best possible instruction, Michie has worked hard to ensure that she can engage every golfer.
Having reached advanced status in every category of the PGA’s Accreditation and Continuing Education (ACE) Program , she also credits her time playing professionally for setting her up for success in coaching.
“I learned skills of patience and perseverance during that time,” she explains.
Skills required for any teacher, Michie now works with six NDIS clients for regular one-on-one coaching and enjoys tailoring her coaching to the individual.
“We regularly have conversations to understand what each individual player is capable of doing,” she says.
“I’ll have a chat to the parents and support workers as well. It’s my job to understand what each person can do.
“I’m a big advocate for working through it slowly. We’ll make one or two changes each time and if they don’t feel comfortable, we dial it back and work together.”
Regardless of the technicalities of the golf swing that each client might be working on, Michie’s boundless positivity extends to everyone.
“I’m a big wrap for giving lots of words of encouragement, big high-fives and even pretending there is a big crowd going crazy in support,” she laughs. “I love to help them have a good time on the golf course.”
With a simple measure of success, Michie finds contentment every time her clients leave a lesson with a smile on their face.
“It makes me happy to see them happy,” she says. “It really is as simple as that for me.”
“I just love being able – it doesn’t matter who the person is, or what disability they may have – to give them the opportunity to get out there and play golf and enjoy it.”
Keen to keep growing All Abilities golf in Queensland, Michie has a vision for the future, too. Determined to host an All Abilities social golf day at the Gunabul Homestead, she is looking forward to sharing the benefits of golf with everyone.
“We’ll get everyone along, play nine holes and share a lunch afterwards,” she says. “It will be a great chance to get everyone, including families and support workers involved and share in the special memories our sport provides.”
After all, helping Australians create special memories on the golf course is what inspired Michie to become a PGA Professional in the first place.
Hundreds of PGA Professionals across Australia have now completed the PGA All Abilities Coach Accreditation. To find the nearest All Abilities-accredited coach near you visit www.pga.org.au/find-a-pga-pro/