With kids about to head back to school, Lacombe Golf and Country Club has wrapped up its junior program for the year.
The program finished off earlier this week with the Adult Junior Golf Day held on Aug. 25. Unfortunately, the junior skills competition, slated for Aug. 26, was cancelled due to that morning’s rain, but Junior Program Coordinators Jason McKinlay and Tye Friesen said the junior program still ran well overall.
“It was awesome,” said McKinlay of the Adult Junior Golf Day, which saw 10 pairs of adult and junior golfers hit the links on Sunday.
He added that it was a very good turnout for the firstever event and the club hopes to do even better next year.
Adult Junior Golf Day had golfers play nine holes with some of the juniors sticking around to play extra holes afterwards, said McKinlay. Hole prizes were given out for things like longest putt and closest to the pin as well as other prizes like the Most Sportsmanlike, he added. McKinlay also said they are thinking of adding a Best Dressed prize category for next year’s event.
Both Friesen and McKinlay have been running the Junior Program for some time and said that what keeps them interested in instructing younger golfers is watching them improve.
“For me personally, it’s seeing them improve throughout the year,” said McKinlay. “Then, when you see them again next year, they improve more and more. You kind of see them get hooked on the game.”
He said that, even when kids get frustrated with a technique that is not working, it is important for instructors to continue trying. When the student does get it, the reward is worth it.
“It’s almost like a light bulb, right?” said Friesen. “It just clicks.”
“They get the confidence to know they can do it,” said McKinlay.
McKinlay added that that this year’s Junior Program saw many juniors showing extreme improvement over the season.
“There are a few juniors, it’s just crazy how much they have improved.”
Lacombe Golf and Country Club’s Junior Program teaches the fundamentals of play, how to swing with each of the clubs, etiquette and also gives juniors a chance to play.
McKinlay said that some aspects of the game can be boring for kids learning about the sport, but he and Freisen have found ways to keep things interesting. One such example is using a Jeopardy style game to teach the players about etiquette.
“We try always to incorporate fun into the lesson,” said McKinlay.
Freisen and McKinlay shared their thoughts on why golf is a popular sport with kids, saying they thought it was because of the individuality of the game.
“A lot of other games, like soccer or hockey, you have to rely on teammates,” said McKinlay.
“(With golf) you get that competitive aspect but it’s not a team sport, it’s an individual sport,” said Friesen.
He added that, as there are no teammates or coaches and the player is entirely in charge of the game, he or she can put as much or as little pressure as desired on how to well to perform.
According to Friesen, golf is a good sport for young people as it teaches more than just how to play the game. It also teaches kids manners, professionalism and how to be courteous, said Friesen.
“There’s a lot more to golf than just the sport,” said Friesen. “Everyone is a better person because they played golf as a junior.”