Youth golfers get good grip on game with PGA Junior Academy | CraigDailyPress.com

Youth golfers get good grip on game with PGA Junior Academy

Kids improve in sport with sessions at Yampa Valley Golf Course

Bob Mueller, Yampa Valley Golf Course professional, provides advice for young golfers Chloe Whitaker, left, 10, Joslyn Curtis, right, 7, and Ila Muhme, 7, far right, as they look to close out their day on the ninth green of YVGC. Mueller had 28 Craig kids participate in six weeks of sessions with PGA Junior Golf Academy, a final exhibition taking place Tuesday.

Young golfers are swinging with more confidence this summer.

The PGA Junior Golf Academy at Yampa Valley Golf CourseYampa Valley Golf Course came to a close this week as the six-week clinic for kids concluded with a three-hole exhibition. came to a close this week as the six-week clinic for kids concluded with a three-hole exhibition.

Yampa Valley Golf Course came to a close this week as the six-week clinic for kids concluded with a three-hole exhibition.

Bob Mueller, YVGC professional, said he had 28 boys and girls who completed the sessions, about on par with last year's turnout.

Kids as young as 5 learn the basics of the game and continue to build their proficiency with a clinic approved by the Professional Golf Association, with the final night being a showcase for their families of their prowess in driving, chipping and putting on Yampa Valley's holes seven, eight and nine Tuesday afternoon.

"They definitely improved, you can see it week to week," Mueller said. "A lot of these kids don't have an opportunity to play because their parents don't play, so it just gets them out on the course. They all learned, they all did well."

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Mueller said he hopes to continue the courses next year and possibly change up the schedule.

"Right now it's six weeks in a row, and I'm thinking about doing two four-week ones," he said. "One would be right after school and one right before they go back to school."

Among those showing their talents were 12-year-olds Ryan Peck and David Andujo, who have been regulars at YVGC's projects in addition to participating in a PGA Junior league through Steamboat Springs' Haymaker Golf Course.

In the past year, the two were part of the group that traveled to Taos, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahomathe two were part of the group that traveled to Taos, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahoma, for competitions., for competitions.

the two were part of the group that traveled to Taos, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahoma, for competitions.

"We're keeping our flow up, trying to make it regionals again," Andujo said of the extra time on the course. "Our team with Steamboat is a lot better this year, and we can make it further."

Peck said "one-on-one instruction" with a pro is a huge benefit when you're golfing competitively.

"It really helped me just get my game down," he said, noting both of them have done well in match play against some of Steamboat's best young golfers.

Mueller also hopes to get YVGC in the Steamboat circuit for next summer.

Many out on the links were returning after picking up the sport in the last year or two, while younger kids were entirely new to the game. As they plugged along, Mueller and parents taught them to worry more about the motion of their swing and staying patient rather than worrying about the number on the scorecard.

For 7-year-old Ila Muhme, the activity is a big adjustment but one she's liked quite a bit. The short game is all well and good for her, but it's on the tee box where she finds the most enjoyment.

"I like driving; you get to whack it farther," she smiled.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.