GOLF: GET IN THE SWING THIS SPRING
(Active Alex 3/2012 - Full Article)
By Teri Boggess
When a child shows interest in golf, the biggest challenge for a Triangle parent won’t be finding an instructor and a place to play. No, with the area’s family-friendly facilities, the challenge will be narrowing the choice among the many instructors who love golf and thrive on introducing kids to the game.
“We’re lucky here in the Triangle area … to have many really nice golf courses and as many PGA professionals. I can honestly say there are so many I wouldn’t know where to start,” says Eric Murray, who runs junior golf tours and is the father of one of the state’s top young golfers, Grayson Murray, who has committed to play college golf at Wake Forest University.
As a parent and as a longtime participant in the junior golf scene, Murray has some advice that he hopes parents new to golf will heed to help children learn a game they can enjoy for a lifetime.
“Try to find a driving range close to home and a golf course that’s fairly close to home,” he advises. “Kids’ concentration is just not there to try to push them.” Long drives to lessons at choice facilities might excite the parent, but they bore the child, he says.
One of the courses chosen by many families is Knight’s Play Golf Center
in Apex, home of a driving range and a course with 27 par-3 holes. “It’s just such a kid-friendly course,” head pro Kevin Jones says. “It doesn’t take as long to play as your traditional courses. It’s not as expensive. And it’s just easier, and it’s just golfer-friendly.”
Among other kid-friendly facilities is 401 Par Golf
in Raleigh, where junior clinics for ages 5 and up are held on Saturday mornings, and camps and clinics are available each summer on a nine-hole par-3 course.
Courses with driving ranges and junior programs can be found throughout Wake County, including Devil’s Ridge Golf Club
in Holly Springs, Wil-Mar Golf Club
at 2300 Old Milburnie Road in Raleigh and The Heritage Golf Club
in Wake Forest.
Other places for camps, instruction and practice include the Triangle Golf Complex
on Leesville Road in Raleigh and Capitol Tee Golf School
on Yonkers Road in Raleigh. And players ready for serious one-on-one instruction can find lessons and programs at indoor facilities such as 3D Golf
in Cary (in SportHQ).
Summer camps can provide children with fun and social golf experiences.
“A full-scale golf camp is also an excellent idea, as long as that camp is geared for beginners so the child does not feel left behind in regards to skill level right off the bat,” says Chip Watson, a PGA professional and an assistant golf coach at N.C. State University who helps run the Wolfpack Golf School
After all of those practices, lessons and clinics, it’s important to let children use their new skills. The Tarheel Junior Golf Foundation’s Future Stars tournaments are among the choices.
A child’s interest in golf can strain the budget of a family with limited means. But luckily, The First Tee of the Triangle
, a nonprofit program, makes its home at Hedingham Golf Club
in Raleigh and works with the YMCA of the Triangle
and the Boys & Girls Clubs
to bring affordable programming to clubs throughout our area.
With so many options, a child can use the Triangle’s rich golf resources to grow from a toddler with toy clubs to a scholarship college player.
ActiveAlex.com has a complete listing of youth golf in our area under Sports & Activities – Golf.
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