Young golfers take advantage of program to develop skills

The Penticton Junior Golf Program has given young athletes the chance to hone their skills on the greens

JACK MCLENNAN works on his putting during a Penticton Junior Golf Program session at the Penticton Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. The program has between 60-65 kids learning the basics of the sport to prepare them to play.

JACK MCLENNAN works on his putting during a Penticton Junior Golf Program session at the Penticton Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. The program has between 60-65 kids learning the basics of the sport to prepare them to play.

Young golfers have been working on their game in the Penticton Golf and Country Club’s junior program since spring break.

Every Wednesday instructor Jeff Hollman shows them the fundamentals to prepare them for the golf course once the program ends in mid June.

Leading into last week, the golfers worked on their short game and split time on the driving range. They also get swing lessons in, working on chipping, putting and sand play.

Hollman said the improvements have been especially noticeable with the older group who have competed in high school events in Zone 2.

Zachary Gardner is the club’s junior champion. He finished second in the south zone finals at Fairview Golf Course after shooting a 76. He also fired a 74 in Salmon Arm. Kurtis Fontinha and Haley Hewer have also played in Zone 2 and the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour. Fontinha won his first Zone 2 event on Saturday firing a four under, 68 at the Dunes in Kamloops.

Hewer has also been helping the younger kids in the program and has had fun.

“The younger ones are just learning the game,” said Hollman.

“It’s great to see them learn. Show them what it’s all about,” said Hewer.

Jack McLennan is in his first year and said it’s fun. While making friends, McLennan has worked on his drive and putts. He said he has a pretty good drive with the ball landing 200 yards onto the fairway. As for his short game, McLennan said, “It’s pretty good. I need to work on it a bit more though.”

McLennan credits Hollman for helping him become a better golfer. McLennan has also picked up game experience competing in tournaments. While feeling some nerves, McLennan enjoyed that.

“I am feeling more confident about my game and just being a better player and having fun,” he said.

What also pleases Hollman regarding the program is they are maintaining good membership. Last year there were between 65-70 golfers and this year it’s between 60-65. Where the program is seeing an increase is in the number of girls picking up the sport.

“I was the only girl for a few years,” said Hewer, adding that it’s good there are more playing.

Also helping the junior program enjoy success are the men’s and women’s programs at the golf club.

“It couldn’t happen without them,” said Hollman. “They give financial support and provide prizes and snacks.”