GOLF 707- March 2017
By Bruce Meadows
Windsor looks to golf’s future______
Things are changing in the golf industry, with an increasing number of courses closing and people simply finding other things to do with their time and money.
But while golf struggles a bit, it’s important to note that the future of the game in many ways depends on making golf something kids want to do – now and as they grow up.
So it was encouraging to see an email from Matt Calegari, who along with Devin Savano coaches the Windsor Junior Golf Team. In an effort to attract young players, Calegari and Savano and Windsor pro Jason Schmuhl have put together an offer.
To be fair, most courses cater to junior golfers with similar offers, but I heard from Windsor first and wanted to give them credit. I would suggest contacting your home course to see what they can do for young golfers.
Cost to join the Windsor team is $200, a one-time fee that covers a kid from age 10 to age 17. The team provides a $200 driving range card, so as Calegari points out, “you’ve broken even already.” It also includes a new orange and black Titleist golf bag with a team logo; a blue polo golf shirt with the Windsor team logo, and a dozen new Titleist white or yellow balls.
Team members have a chance to play in casual tournaments with other Sonoma County juniors at Northwood, Tayman Park in Healdsburg. Fairgrounds, Bennett Valley and Windsor on Tuesdays during the summer. Other courses may join the tournament schedule.
The Windsor team practices once a week on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. followed by nine holes at 5:45. Calegari said if you can’t make it each week, no problem. There is also unlimited play at Windsor seven days a week during twilight hours and “quiet times” on the tee sheet.
“We realize families go on vacations and can’t commit to a summer team on a full-time basis,” says Calegari. “That’s why we consider this a club where your kids will meet new friends, hit a bucket of balls, play 9 or 18 holes with a buddy when they can and have a chance to play in a tournament if they choose.”
Calegari points out that Windsor Schmuhl is a big fan of junior golf, having come out of those ranks to enjoy a productive college and pro career, “and has made this generous offer to kids in our community.”
Calegari wants to make sure girls are aware of this team, too, noting that “my good friend and fellow golf instructor Paul Nikol has told me many times there are literally hundreds of golf scholarships for young women that go unused due to a shortage of skilled girls,” adding that “if your daughter can shoot 80 for 18 holes when she’s a senior in high school, she’ll have a great chance of getting a college golf scholarship while scholarships in soccer, softball and volleyball are much harder to find.”
No experience? You can participate in an introductory clinic or get lessons from Schmuhl, Molly James, Demian Reddy or John Russell.
Women’s golf school in May
Jessica Reese Quayle and Rebecka Heinmert, both former LPGA Tour players, are hosting a women’s golf school May 6-7 at Chardonnay GC in American Canyon.
School starts at 8:30 both days and ends at 4:30 p.m. with the morning sessions devoted to skill building, and afternoons on the course.
The school will feature personalized feedback on pre-swing fundamentals, swing and short-game skills; on-course coaching; new drills and idea on how to practice; an in-depth short-game clinic including chipping, pitching and bunker play; how to hit better long fairway shots; revisit putting fundamentals and develop green-reading skills, and receive a take-home booklet with personal notes to help solidify your game.
Cost is $649, with an early bird special price of $599. Fee includes professional instruction, green fees, cart, range balls, lunch, snacks and a bonus lesson prior to the weekend so Reese Quayle and Heinmert can “get to know you and your game better.”
PGA HOPE helping veterans
PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is a year-round program that provides all military veterans with free golf instruction, designed to enhance their rehabilitation and assimilation back into society.
The HOPE program, which is offering several clinics in Northern California, provides free instruction taught by local PGA professionals and is broken down into a two-part process.
The first step of the HOPE program is the Down Range Clinic, a free introductory golf experience open to all veterans and designed to serve as an orientation to the HOPE program.
“PGA pros provide proper instruction on the game, the use of adaptive equipment when necessary, and are paired with veterans by zip code to create a local hometown for our heroes to stay in the game,” according to spokesman and golf instructor Bob Miller.
Following the Down Range Clinic, veterans are invited to participate in the weekly HOPE sessions that will be conducted over 5-8 weeks.
The Spring 2017 HOPE schedule includes Presidio GC in San Francisco, 9-11 a.m., Thursdays, April 13, 20, 27, May 5, 11, 18 and 25. Cypress Lakes GC in Vacaville has clinics on the same dates and times as Presidio.
Metropolitan GC in Oakland has scheduled clinics from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Mondays, April 17 and 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 30. Sacramento’s Haggin Oaks will host clinics on Fridays, 9-11 a.m., April 21, May 5, 12, 19 and 26 as well as June 2.
“In a sport where relationships are everything, PGA HOPE helps veterans through social interaction the game of golf provides,” says Miller. “This program offers a moral boost and enables our patriots to once again be active in their community and participate in the game of a lifetime.”
Space is limited at HOPE clinics so veterans are urged to make contact as soon as possible. RSVPs must be emailed or phoned in to Suzy Schneider, who can be reached at 707-449-4742 or at email@example.com
Include your full name, phone number and indicate whether you need to be provided with golf clubs.
Cost to host a PGA HOPE clinic is approximately $7,000 so if you think your course might be interested, contact Schneider.
The NorCal PGA began PGA HOPE clinics in 2015. National Trainer, Judy Alvarez, PGA-LPGA Florida, started formulating the program in 2011. PGA HOPE is a part of PGA REACH, a PGA of America initiative.
“Our goal as PGA Certified Instructors is to help veterans with disabilities enhance their mental, social and emotional well-being through golf with a focus on their abilities,” explains Miller. “Our training was aimed at Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans with visual and non-visual (PTSD, Meds, Depression) health issues. The clinics were envisioned to be near VA Medical Offices, so disabled vets could have better access”
Funding is from PGA National and the NCPGA and there is hope of signing up courses to provide discounts to PGA HOPE graduates.
“I instructed at two clinics in 2016 and will instruct at least two more clinics in 2017,” says Miller. “It is a joy for me to help veterans enjoy the game of golf.”
SSU women hosting tournament
Some of the top teams and players in Division II women’s golf will be at Foxtail Golf Course in Rohnert Park April 3-4 for the Sonoma State Women’s Golf Invitational.
The Seawolves are currently ranked No. 14 in the West Region and in their last four events, have finished fourth, third, second and took first last week at the Pioneer Shootout.
Top players for the Seawolves have been senior Haley Whitbeck (76.0 stroke average, three Top 5 finishes) and senior Erin Martens (77.4 stroke average and two Top 5 finishes).
PGA Junior Golf League
The Oakmont Junior Golf Academy is looking for 8 to 12 players ages 7-13 with some course knowledge and experience playing the courses at Oakmont.
The league will start in late May and end in early August, with all-star play set for later in August.
Match play will be set when registration is complete but will most likely be on weekends. Matches will be played against Petaluma CC, Santa Rosa CC, Rooster Run GC, Bennett Valley GC and Fountaingrove CC.
The PGA Junior League at Oakmont includes matches, green fees and instruction, with clinics set for May 13 and 20 at 3 p.m. – an additional clinic is planned — with golfers meeting on the East Course.
As is the case with other local teams in the league, matches will be both home and away. Cost to join the program is $200, with team uniforms, gloves and golf balls provided.
For additional information, go to www.pgajlg.com. Kids in other areas are encouraged to contact the clubs mentioned above for their information.
Oakmont Golf Academy members will take a field trip April 9 to watch a round of the Symetra Tour women’s tournament at Windsor GC.
The Symetra Tour is a mini-tour that sends players to the LPGA with the top players earning a card to play on the major women’s tour.
“We will be focusing on what makes a great competitor, pre-shot routine, etiquette and what a pro tournament looks like,” according to Reese Quayle. “We will also meet a tour player.”
Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org Transportation and snacks will be provided with field trippers meeting at Oakmont at 8 a.m. Parents are welcome to attend.
The Oakmont Junior Golf Academy has practices on Wednesdays in April, May and into early June. Practices are led by Reese Quayle and Heinmert. A single session is $30, the 11-session package is $275 with a price break for siblings.
Contact either pro for additional information.
Let’s hear from you . . .
If you have any thoughts on golf in our area – including ideas for stories or column items — or any questions about golf-related matters, email me at email@example.com and we will get you some answers.
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