Story by Pat Payton | St. Marys Independent Newspaper
Junior golf camps were in full swing at the St. Marys Golf and Country Club in 2021.
Director of Golf Operations Brandon De Groote reports that 118 Junior-aged players registered for the 2021 golf camps. That number is up significantly from 2020.
The camps started June 28 and ran for eight consecutive weeks until the end of August, under the direction of Junior golf coach and instructor Kellen Fifield and fellow instructors. 10 to 12 players took part each week, so every youngster gets lots of one-on-one coaching.
There were three full all-girls golf programs, involving 40 girls. That number is up from 18 last summer. There were three full mixed golf camps (boys and girls), and there were two Ultimate Junior (Level 2) camps as well.
In league play, the St. Marys G&CC Monday Junior Golf League started up on Monday, July 5. The Huron-Perth Junior Golf League started July 12.
“A special shoutout to Kellen Fifield, St. Marys G&CC golf coach, for doing such a great job with all the Juniors,” De Groote says. “Kellen provides a great mix of instruction, while also making all of the lessons and on-course play enjoyable for the different skill levels.”
Fifield agrees that the first priority of the golf camps is to make it fun for the youngsters.
“We want to create a fun atmosphere,” he told the newspaper. “We want the kids to enjoy the game and hopefully it motivates them to come back and play on their own. We want them to learn the game, while having fun.”
The golf coach says he teaches the basics of the game -- the grip, the set-up, the stance and posture. All very important components when hitting a golf ball.
Fifield notes that golf teaches many good life lessons. It’s important for young players to learn them at an early age.
“Golf teaches you to respect the course, yourself and your opponents. You call your own penalties on yourself. You fix your divots, fix the ball marks on the greens, so you’re respecting the course you’re playing on. It also teaches you to respect your opponents, and you’re quiet when they’re hitting a shot.
“Golf is a really good character sport. It’s a game I’ve loved my whole life, and I want them to enjoy it, too,” he added.