By Megan Kelley
Tuesday mornings from June through mid August from 8 – 10:30 a.m., the Paint Creek Country Club is home to the club’s junior golf program.
Children from the ages of 7-17 get up bright and early to spend their morning learning fundamentals and garnering an appreciation for the game of golf.
The program’s instructor, Steve Vickery is on his 29th year working at the club and is currently the club’s head club professional.
The club’s junior golf program has seen plenty of growth since the program’s inception 30 years ago. In the recent past, the program has seen as many as 100 students. This year the program is hosting a smaller group of about 50 students, said Vickery.
Assisting Vickery with the program are David Howard who assists in teaching and instruction and Martian Ballen. Ballen recently took over as program coordinator after the untimely passing of previous coordinator Don Carrier in 2017.
The majority of the participants are beginners who play four to six holes in groups of four. Because the groups are kept small, Vickery, Howard and Ballen also receive help from parents who go through the course with the groups to ensure safety and course etiquette.
“Each week we try to mix in some fun along with etiquette and instruction,” said Vickery. “They (the kids) love it. Their only complaint is maybe that they have to get up too early…They like it, otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming back every week year after year.”
Vickery also notes that the club’s aqua-range is always a big hit.
Each year, the program ends with a banquet where students receive their program favors.
This year, the program participants are receiving new golf shoes, said Vickery.