“We give the kids a chance to come out and practice and the opportunity to maybe try the sport out for the first time. For some kids, golf may be something they continue doing, and for others this clinic may be something their parents wanted them to try out and they never do again. Either way, teaching golf to youth is how we keep the sport alive.”
— Dave Desarmeaux, Yampa Valley Golf Course assistant professional, on teaching golf to youth
Kyler Stout, 7, stood Monday at the end of the Yampa Valley Golf Course driving range concentrating on each ball he swung at.
“My favorite thing to do is hit golf balls,” Stout said. “I need to practice more, so I came to play this week. Golf is a lot of fun anyway.”
Stout was one of 75 youths who participated in the golf course’s junior golf clinic, which started Monday and continues through Wednesday.
Jason Back, the golf course professional, and Ken Harjes, Moffat County High School boys golf coach, rotated with assistant course professional Dave Desarmeaux, Susan Nicholson and Amber Nicholson on working with the kids on various aspects of the game.
Desarmeaux, who came to Craig from Arizona this summer to work with Back at the golf course, said the clinic is to help young golfers understand the basics of the game.
“We give the kids a chance to come out and practice and the opportunity to maybe try the sport out for the first time,” he said. “For some kids, golf may be something they continue doing, and for others this clinic may be something their parents wanted them to try out and they never do again.
“Either way, teaching golf to youth is how we keep the sport alive.”
While Monday consisted of putting and irons, Harjes and his daughter, MCHS golfer Caitlin Harjes, worked with the kids on chipping today.
“This is the most important shot on the golf course,” Harjes told the kids about chipping. “You will take more of these shots than any other shot.”
The 75 youngsters were split into three groups to allow more one-on-one tutelage.
Dylan Chalmers, 10, said his favorite thing about golfing is being outside.
“I like to come out to the golf course and play with my friends and my family,” he said. “I have been golfing for a while and I think it is a lot of fun and I want to get better.”
While Chalmers said he likes hitting off the tees and sinking long putts, golf also has its difficulties.
“I think it is really hard to get the ball in the air,” he said. “Some people can do it and some people can’t. The higher you get it the longer it goes.”
Although some participants were 5 and 6 years old, Desarmeaux said learning the sport early is the way to go.
“Golf is a game you can play for life,” he said. “You can only play football in college if you are really good and professionally if you are exceptionally good, but golf you can play anytime during your life. It teaches life lessons like honesty and integrity you can’t learn from other sports.”
As the first day came to a close Monday, Desarmeaux said he could tell the clinic kids were having a good time.
“At the ages we are working with, you have to keep their attention by letting them do things,” he said. “All the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and that is what we want.”
While every aspect of golf doesn’t come easy, Stout said he had nothing to complain about.
“I like everything about golfing,” he said.
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