Numbers skyrocket at youth golf camp
The Desert Peaks youth golf camp came to an end July 24, with kids and families finishing the camp at the golf course. After the youngsters finished swinging clubs, they came together for an end-of-the-year barbecue.
The camp started June 25, and aspiring young golfers practiced on both the Desert Peaks Golf Course and the Willow Creek Driving Range on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Campers were not only taught how to properly play the game of golf through practice and drills, but also the etiquette and respect side of the game.
There were 44 kids who grabbed club and went on the greens, learning proper form and skill. It was highest participation the camp has seen. The camp was run by Carl Lindgren and several other volunteer coaches.
"For a lot of the kids, it is just learning the basics," Lindgren said. "We want them to learn stance, grip, some mechanics of the swing. Most of our kids are between the ages of 4 and 15, and most are all visual learners. So we do a lot of stuff like that, visual examples."
"The other side of it is, what are the responsibilities and things that are unique about golf that they need to learn — the etiquette and self-policing side of golf," he said, adding that there is also, "the competitive side of things, learning that you are usually competing against yourself and what you do, not focusing on what everyone else does."
The number of kids was larger than ever before, with support from the community and parent involvement throughout the camp. Golfers have been able to attend this local camp for around 15 years now.
"I think a lot of it (high participation numbers) has to do with the friendships and the kids themselves," Lindgren said. "If the kids have friends doing it, then they invite more friends. The other side of it is the parents. Parents that know and play the game want someone else besides themselves teaching them what golf is all about."
Money made from the camp goes back into the program and toward the annual end-of-the-year barbecue. Kids who participated in the camp also get to golf for free for the entire year, until the next camp.
"We try to put all the money back into it," said Lindgren. "I give the volunteers a dozen golf balls every year and that seems to keep them hanging around."
"If you look at these kids when they start at the beginning of the year and a lot of them haven't touched a golf club since last year." he said. "I tell them just keep playing, keep watching; watch the game and you will learn a lot. Kids need to have the idea that this is a fun game and they can play with their friends."
During the barbecue kids were put into small groups and assigned a hole to play on. In one of the groups was golf camp veteran Grayson Ortiz. Ortiz has shown a great liking for the sport and has participated in the camp for four years.
"I like the fact that I get to play golf with my friends," Ortiz said. "I have gotten a lot better since starting. I am going to keep playing and play as long as I can. I am a little sad it's over and I am already looking forward to next year. My favorite thing is just learning to play golf."
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