To see the importance of the junior golf program, look no further than Moffat County freshman golfer Meghan Innes.
The lone state qualifier this year for the girls golf team started golfing in the junior program when she was 6. Her experience helped her become the first Moffat County freshman to qualify for state.
Sign-up for this summer's junior program by the Yampa River Junior Golf Association is under way at the Yampa Valley Golf Course.
"It provides a chance to learn golf the right way," LPGA professional Ann Marie Hamilton said. "We make it fun and affordable."
The Yampa River Junior Golf Association was created in 1994 to provide the children of Moffat County with an inexpensive introduction to the game of golf.
The clinics will be held the week of June 6 to 9. Each day, children ages 5 to 7 will get instruction from 8 to 9 a.m.; children ages 8 to 10 meet from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.; children ages 11 to 13 meet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and teens ages 14 to 17 meet from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
The listed goals of the clinics are to promote an appreciation for the game, teach the basic principles of the game and develop golf skills, sportsmanship and comradeship.
"We hope to teach them the whole game of golf," Hamilton said. "They'll learn all aspects including etiquette, how to treat the course and the rules."
The charge for the clinic is $20 a golfer. Costs are kept down for the clinics by donations from local businesses.
"There are also clubs available for those who don't have them," Hamilton said.
"The goal is to give anyone who has the desire to learn a chance."
Other opportunities through the summer for the junior golfers include six junior play days (June 13 and 20, July 11 and 18, Aug. 8 and 15) that are from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for $5; and the Yampa River Junior Golf Tournament on Tuesday, July 26.
Hamilton, the Moffat County girls golf coach, stressed the importance of the junior program for any future high school golfers.
"It puts them ahead of the game," she said. "There are aspects that you can't pick up by watching TV."
Sign-up for the clinics is available at the YVGC clubhouse.