AMHERST – Young golfers may be entering the golden age of golf this summer at the Amherst Golf Club.
“We’re making a couple of changes to encourage more kids to play,” said Frank McShane, Amherst Golf Club pro.
One change is to provide double the instruction than they did in previous years.
In past summers, junior golfers gathered at the golf club every Monday morning for an hour of lessons before heading out on the course with chaperones to help with etiquette and rules.
“That’s going to remain the same on Monday’s but what we’re doing now is we’re going to add a Thursday morning lesson as well,” said McShane. “The kids are going to get double the instruction as they had in years past.”
There will be one difference between Monday’s and Thursday’s.
“On Thursday we’ll focus on the teaching portion of it. They’re not going to go out and play and have supervision after the lesson,” said McShane. “They can go out and play if they would like afterwards, but they’re not going to be supervised.
“The main thing is that they’re getting double the instruction from a PGA Canada professional.”
The change was made because many kids couldn’t make it to practice on Monday’s.
“I notice the last few years if we got rain or kids went away with their parents for vacation, then kids were getting five or six lessons a year, so we thought we needed to get them some more instruction,” said McShane.
The Junior Golf Program is open to golfers age eight to 18 and costs $249. The cost makes them a member of the golf club.
“The way we do it is once a kid joins the golf club as a member, the program, the lessons and all that sort of stuff is free,” said McShane.
What junior golfers learn in the program can last a lifetime.
“We need to try to grow the game from the bottom up, so the more kids we get in and teach to play when they’re young, the better,” said McShane. “Maybe they don’t stay with it through their teen years and through college but at least now they know how to play, so in 20-years, or whatever, they can come back to the game and have some knowledge of the etiquette and know how to hold a golf club and make a swing.”
The second change coming this summer is also aimed at youth.
Every Sunday after 6:30 p.m., through the month of July and August, kids between the ages of eight and 16 will play for free, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult member of the golf club or and adult paying a green fee.
McShane hopes the idea will encourage families to play golf together.
“The kids might be members and the parents don’t play, or visa-versa, the parents are members and the kids don’t play, so I’m trying to encourage families to get out and play together,” said McShane “It’s an inexpensive way to get the whole family out there, with mom and dad and the kids playing golf.”
McShane hopes more young people get out to the golf course.
“You have young (PGA) players like Rickie Fowler making a fashion statement, and you have Rory McIlroy and a lot of young players out there for young players to look up to,” said McShane. “It’s a great place for kids to come and hang out. It’s a good environment. It teaches them more than a sport, it teaches them manners.”