Young golfers take to local greens
This month, the Park City Golf Club gives a whole new meaning to working on their short game.
The club has kicked off a month’s worth of week-long classes where young kids converge on the course to learn all about the game of golf and tune up their skills along the way.
And they really are working on their short game. Camp director and Park City golf pro Cynthia Brown says that what sets her camp apart is the focus on the short game. Monday and Tuesday of this week featured special emphasis on putting and chipping and spare time on Wednesday and Thursday was also used for short game work.
"It works better this way," Brown said. "They get more attention and time."
The camp, which was fully designed by Brown, also gives a fair amount of time to rules and etiquette of the game and even gives the kids a chance to play nine holes on a closed course.
"I’ve seen a lot of programs. This is a great program," Brown said.
Most are already indoctrinated into the brother and sisterhood of the game on the first day. Kids that didn’t have their own clubs coming into camp had, for the most part, gone out and purchased a set by mid-week. Many could be seen tucking in their golf shirts and adjusting their golf visors before heading out on course, in order to "look golfy," as Brown puts it. But the telltale sign was the flurry of small hands that flew up when Brown asked if anyone had dreams of one day becoming a college or pro golfer.
Wednesday’s rules class gave the kids a real-life look of playing the game. Kid-friendly pros headed onto the greens and showed kids what to do and what not do, with a mix of laughs and bad behavior to drive the various points home.
"It makes their day," Brown says about the time spent with the other pros. "They are shining."
Afterwards, the kids had a 20-minute written test on the rules that requires a 100-percent pass rate to allow the kids to play on the course. Brown says this strict requirement helps keep little minds focused on the lesson.
"If they know it’s so important, they listen," Brown said.
She added that she suspects most of the children walk away with far more knowledge of the game than the average adult golfer. Many of the kids are returning to camp for the third or fourth time. The camp is structured in such a way that beginners can learn while returning campers can continue to work on improving their skills.
"Every year, they come back to camp," Brown said. "It’s exciting."
Brown hopes that kids not only learn a sport that they can enjoy for a lifetime, but that it also encourages more family time. Many participants come to camp so that they can join in with their golfing parents, while others bring their parents to the golf course for the first time after the class to introduce them to the game.
"It gets parents out," Brown said. "It encourages family time and it’s even changing vacations."
Ben Lykes, age 9, says that he is quickly getting better than his parents. Xan Sherifan, 14, of Ogden, signed up with his cousin and hopes to make golf his sport. He has visions of one day playing golf in high school.
Best friends Rachel Papez, 11, and Kristine Cox, 12, decided to sign up together. Papez has been longing to join her golfing family on the course for years and Cox just thought learning would be fun. For Max Wageck, learning to golf is an opportunity to spend more time with his grandfather.
"My family’s not the playing golf type," Wageck explains. "But my grandpa and I play a lot, so that’s fun."
Golf camp continues through the month of June at the Park City Golf Club. Visit the pro shop for more information.
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