Youth Golfers Return to Links - and There's Space for More
Young golfers are hitting the links again in Florence - with caution.
The PGA Jr. program at World of Golf in Florence has resumed and is accepting new members.
"I was the first one in the state of Kentucky to start the PGA jr group," said Ralph Landrum. "We started with just over twenty kids, and grew to forty-five to fifty kids."
There are two divisions at Florence, one for children under the age of 13 and another for children under the age of 17.
Golf matches start in about two weeks.
"The purpose of this program is to have the kids equate going to the golf course or driving range with having fun," said Landrum. "We teach some of the basics, but then we like to get the kids out to the range, or the golf course because they have to physically try the swing. They can listen to how to swing the club, but you really teach when you have them do it, and then evaluate the swing and give them pointers on how to do it correctly."
Groups are split into smaller numbers to increase social-distancing, and masks are worn.
For the price of around $200, participants receive a couple of team golf shirts, a hat, and golf balls and tees. They use the clubs from the World of Golf, and they learn the sport with all the tools they need.
Landrum said people tend to donate their old clubs to the World of Golf, so many times they are able to gift a student with a set of clubs. Even though they are older clubs, Landrum laughed and said, "Old clubs are better than no clubs!"
Sometimes, scholarships are available, too.
To Landrum, the love of the sport, and having fun is the major goal.
"We haven't had any kids go on to be champions, like maybe a Tiger Woods, but our program is pretty young," said Landrum. "I really want kids to love to play golf. Getting them into a program like this is great and fosters the love of the sport. Loving the sport makes kids want to work at it and get better, and that is achievable. And that is the recipe for success: loving to play and wanting to work at it and get better every day. That's our measuring stick."
For more information, or to sign up a student for this year's team, the number to call is 859-371-8255. Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., and the matches will begin July 10.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor