Golf pro provides youth opportunity to lean game basics

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Would be golfers aged five to 17 have an opportunity to spend three days on the fairways and putting greens of the Cardiff Golf and Country Club this week and next learning the basics of the game. The program, running July 18 to 20 and July 25 to 27, will be instructed by Canadian Professional Golf Association (CPGA) instructor Chris Hendrick and is aimed at new golfers.

“Were actually doing a new thing this year,” Hendrick said. “It’s called SNAG Golf and stands for starting new at golf. It teaches them a fun way to do fundamentals.”

A number of tools, including the swing-o-matic, snapper, roller, launcher, and a special club with a colour-coded grip will teach young people how to grip, swing and utilize the golf club the right way while keeping the lessons fun for those involved. “It’s a bunch of fun tools for the kids to learn all the basics,” Hendrick said.

The program’s focus for the first two days is on the basics of the game; the final day on actual game play itself with nine holes of golf.

Whether the skills learned during the three-day program will propel students down the fairway to a life-long love of golf remains to be seen, but it was at an early age that Hendrick developed his love of the sport. “I started when I was 12, so I was a bit of a late bloomer,” Hendrick explained. “I was more of a baseball player, but as soon as I got into golf, I haven’t looked back. It’s been 16 years now that I’ve been golfing and I’ll continue to do another 16 for sure.”

Trevor Commet, Cardiff Golf and Country Club’s Executive Professional, said it is good to start golf at a young age but not essential. “It’s not the age that you start at; it’s the proper instruction so that you get the basic fundamentals down, a solid platform to work from so that as you develop and grow you already have the basics,” he explained.”You don’t form the bad habits right away that you have to change down the road. It’s not necessarily that they have to start at age five. It all depends on the individual. Some pick up on things very quickly. Some take a little more time.”

The club believe the SNAG program is ideal for new youth golfers. Instead of a traditional golf ball, one closer to the size of a tennis ball is used. “It’s still the same weight as a golf ball, but it’s a lot larger so it’s easier for them to hit,” Commet explained. “The golf clubs they use has a normal shaft but a plastic head that’s much larger. Without giving them a lot of detailed instruction, they do learn to get a hold of the golf club. So you can still focus it on fun without the boring specific fundamentals of golf. They’ll be able to pick up on it without feeling like they’re in school and forced to learn things. They kind of pick it up by nature that way.”

The camp runs Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Call 780-939-6666 Option 1 for pricing and registration information.

Above: Golf instructor Chris Hendrick lets it swing on the driving range Tuesday morning. The CPGA instructor will be teaching youth the basics of the game in a three-day camp this week.

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