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Never too young to pick up a golf club!

Posted on 26th January, 2016 / Source: Jayme Young, Arbutus Ridge


I remember the days when I was a junior golfer. I would catch the bus or sometimes even walk; it felt like it was up hill all the way.  I would spend all day at the golf course practicing my chipping and putting hoping to get on the course on a busy day. When I eventually managed to get off the 1st tee, I would play as many holes as I could, depending on how many golf balls I had. If supplies were low I wouldn't play at all and spend most of my time in the bushes looking for golf balls for my next round. My club had a day each week for us juniors during the summer holidays to play a round where the focus was on improvement, rules and etiquette. Important lessons were learned such as counting every shot and that there are no “do over’s.” We would play 9-holes and then hand in our scorecard to the Golf Shop hoping that we did better than our friends. We would have to wait until next week to see if we won a prize such as a sleeve of Ultra golf balls....remember those!

At Arbutus Ridge we have taken some of the same elements of what I experienced when I was a kid and allowed our junior members to enjoy and learn the game in a safe nurturing environment. We offer many programs for juniors of all ages and skill levels. Programs such as our Little Bogeys class for kids aged 4-6, or our Summer Golf and Tennis Camps that we run each week throughout the summer holidays.  At a higher level we are proud to host the Shawnigan Lake School Golf Program.  Their team competes all over Vancouver Island and at the Provincial level. However, our flagship program is the Wednesday Night Juniors (WNJ).  This night offers an opportunity for any junior aged 18 or under to come out with their friends and play as group with the main focus being to have fun. The kids play 9-holes in a Texas Scramble format so there is no pressure within the group as they are all on the same team. While out on the course our team helps the kids learn different shots, course etiquette and the rules of the game. After the round everyone comes in to get a snack and receive prizes.  One of the highlights of these evenings for me is hearing about the shots they hit out on the course and the different situations they found themselves in. I have had many parents tell me how excited their child is to come out for our junior night. If they are going to be out of town for one of the Wednesday nights the kids are asking their parents how they can make it back so they can play in our WNJ. We’ve even had some kids come from as far away as Courtney just to play in our WNJ! We were very fortunate this past summer to see the participant numbers increased by 150 over the previous year so I am confident we are going in the right direction and that the game is growing despite the electronic distractions keeping our youth indoors.

If and when you see the juniors at the course, please make a point to give us a wave or come over and ask the kids about their game. If you have any suggestions or any stories you would like to share please see me in the shop I would love to hear from you.

Jayme Young
Associate Professional and Junior Coordinator
Arbutus Ridge Golf Club

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