Youngsters getting into the swing of golf
By Rod Haxton, editor
Junior program grows
to 45 SC participants
Kirby Garrison was hoping that last year’s junior golf program would spark interest in the next generation of players.
It would appear that interest is starting to take hold.
From 28 young golfers a year ago, this summer the program has grown to 45 players, ages 8-14, who show up at the Scott Community Golf Course each Tuesday evening for instruction.
“It’s important that we lay the groundwork for our next generation of players, but this is also where we begin building a successful high school program,” says Garrison, who initiated the junior golf program last summer.
Of the 28 golfers who participated last year, about 25 have returned. That gives Garrison and his crew of volunteer instructors about 20 first-time golfers.
“Except for this program, most of these kids have never set foot on a golf course before,” notes Garrison.
For about two hours each Tuesday, the young golfers work on different aspects of the game as they rotate through five instructional stations led by a number of volunteer instructors. In just four weeks, the instructors are pretty limited in what they can accomplish.
“Obviously, the main focus is proper technique and we really emphasize the importance of learning golf etiquette,” says Garrison. “We try not to flood them with too much information. That’s pretty easy to do if you aren’t careful, especially with golf.”
And, of course, they want to keep it fun.
“Golf can be very frustrating, as we all know,” he says. “But I don’t sense that frustration with so many of these kids because it’s still so new to them.”
The junior golf program isn’t designed to produce great golfers . . . at least not yet.
“We’re trying to get them exposed to the game, to learn a little about it and, hopefully, they will have the desire to get out to the course on their own when this is over,” Garrison says.
And that can be the most difficult part for youngsters of any age.
Many of the youngsters don’t have parents who are golfers, or are members of the Scott City course, so continuing to work on their game after junior golf doesn’t come easy. Garrison says they are working on ideas to help overcome that obstacle, possibly providing free or discount tickets for rounds of golf.
“We don’t expect to have 30 or 40 kids on the course who will be getting in the way of the members, but we’d like to get some of them to keep playing, perhaps during weekday mornings or afternoons when the course isn’t busy,” notes Garrison. “I’d like nothing more than to see kids being dropped off at the course in the morning and allowed to play a couple of rounds before their parents come back to pick them up.
“But that’s a culture you have to create.
“What we can’t emphasize enough to the kids, whether they’re this age or in high school, is that if you want to get good at this sport you have to be willing to put in the time. It’s not going to happen in a month or during the high school season,” he adds.
The junior golfers will meet one more time on August 4 for a junior/adult tournament which will include about 35 two-person teams. Play will begin at 6:00 p.m. and wrap-up after 1-1/2 hours.
It will be followed by a pizza party and awards program.
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