Sports

Whidbey Golf Club hosts Junior Camp

Nerya Rennes, 8, works on her chipping at junior golf camp. - Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times
Nerya Rennes, 8, works on her chipping at junior golf camp.
— image credit: Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times

The Whidbey Golf Club held its annual Junior Camp Wednesday through Friday this week, and who knows? Maybe the next Bubba Watson or Michelle Wie will emerge from the group of local youngsters.

Twenty-four kids, ages 6 to 16, took part in the camp under the instruction of WGC professional David Phay, Brandon Kenworthy, Quintin McMillian and volunteer Jim Keresey.

The Whidbey Golf Club has sponsored the camp since the 1980s.

“The main goal of the camp is to give our children a chance to be exposed to golf in a fun environment,” Phay said. “We want them to leave with a positive attitude about the game and a willingness to come back.”

The WGC offers a junior membership for $200.

At camp, the youngsters are split into three groups based on age, and each group rotates through three stations: chipping, putting and full swing.

“At every station they are first taught the fundamentals of each swing,” Phay said. “Then they are free to practice what they have learned while the coach works with each one separately.”

To make the stations more interesting, Phay said, they may add a garbage can or kiddie pool filled with water as targets.

The putting lessons are spiced up by converting the putting green into a putt-putt course.

The camp finishes with the youngsters playing a few holes on the course in a team-structured event.

“It’s the most exciting part of the camp for the kids and the coaches alike,” Phay said.

The opportunities for the young golfers don’t end when the camp concludes. At 1 p.m. each Tuesday, starting June 24, the Whidbey Golf Club offers Junior Golf Day.

“This will be for members and guests 7 years old and up,” Phay said. “It will be held all summer long with the focus on playing. Our goal is to teach them enough about the game to have them playing at least nine holes regularly at the end of the summer.”

 

(Justin Engle, 9, fires away in a chipping drill.)

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