Program keeps growing

Penticton Golf and Country Club's junior program aims to reach the century mark in players

Penticton Golf and Country Club pro and instructor Jeff Hollman helps Ethan McLaughlin with his technique during the club's junior program at the course Wednesday. Nearly 100 young people are currently enrolled in the lessons.

Kal Kozakevich places his iron behind his back and goes through the proper form of swinging his golf club.

The youngster is among 40 kids attending a session of the Penticton Golf and Country Club’s junior program Wednesday, learning some of the basic skills. After the instruction from golf pro Jeff Hollman, Kozakevich and the other kids focus on making the proper contact with the ball and aiming for the 75-yard marker and not the set of houses that line the right side of the driving range. Each one takes their turn at taking a swing, some good, others need more work.

Kozakevich, 11, has played the game for four years and has noticed improvement in his skills over the last two years. He plays a lot with his dad, who signed him up for the program for club members.

“It’s fun,” said Kozakevich, who is inspired by 22-year-old Jordan Spieth, ranked No. 2 in the world. “So far it’s pretty good.”

Kozakevich wants to improve his drives and work on his iron shots, but mainly he wants to have fun.

Hollman has 90 kids in the program and wants to see it reach 100 once the eight weeks are finished.

“Every year it grows,” said Hollman, adding they had 55 kids last week working on their chipping skills.

The program opened up last week with the kids treated to a barbecue provided by IGA. The program receives support from the men’s and ladies clubs, which provides donations.

“They are glad to be out here to experience the game,” said Hollman, adding some have desires to further their education through the game.

Anne Hughes is one who would like to earn a golf scholarship. She enters her second year in the program, but prefers being on the course alone or with her brother.

“I’m looking forward to getting better,” said Hughes, who is good at chipping the ball.

Hughes said the instruction is helpful and she plans to focus working on making shots from the sand.

Each week the program, which operates from April to June, focuses on different skills.