By Scott Kramer
A SMALL GROUP OF BOYS AND GIRLS, giddy to be among new friends, jump into a golf car with their instructor by the Pelican Hill® clubhouse, and are whisked away to the far end of the driving range. Within minutes, they start sinking short putts on the practice green, which quickly leads to high- fives and encouragement from their instructor. Right away, their confidence starts to blossom.It’s the beginning of another fun day at the Pelican Hill Junior Golf Camp, set up at Pelican Hill Golf Academy’s state-of-the-art practice facility. During the four-day session, the kids will share laughs, compete against one another on a made-for- camp putting course and learn the basics of the golf swing—all in an amazing setting.
“The kids have a blast,” says renowned instructor Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill and Oak Creek® Golf Club’s resident PGA Director of Golf Instruction and one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Instructors, who oversees the camp that was established in 1998.
“We try to keep fundamentals simple and focus on getting them correct, as that promotes learning. All the while, we create golf games that promote learning in a fun environment, gain them confidence and make them feel good about their ability. Our golf pros have over 20 years of experience in working with juniors, which makes
a big difference.”
The camp is open to Resort guests and locals alike, ages 7-13. Eight four-day sessions run from late June through August, with a maximum of 10 campers in each. The student-to-teacher ratio is 5-to-1.
Amid all of the fun, Deck’s staff promotes the basics of golf. “The children are beginners, for the most part,” he said. “For set up, we show them the proper grip and posture, how to aim and correct ball position. Regarding the swing, we teach them about pivot, club path, the clubface, impact and how to swing to the target. Plus, we cover the short game and putting, as well as basic golf rules, etiquette and safety.”
The week gradually builds to the Thursday skills challenges event that includes golf course situations and a putting contest. “The putting course is far and away the kids’ favorite part of the week,” adds Deck. “They love the contests, and we make it a lot of fun for them. Everyone improves, and we have a prize for every junior that participates in the skills challenges.”
Pelican Hill® Golf Academy houses some of the world’s most sophisticated golf swing technology, such as high-speed video, which sometimes makes its way into the camp as well.
As complicated as the golf swing can get, Deck’s staff is mindful that children just want to have a good time and learn how to hit the ball.
“We want the kids to learn that the object of golf is to have fun, while trying to get it in the hole in the fewest strokes possible,” says Deck.
This summer’s sessions run July 8-11, 15-18, 22-25 and August 5-8, 12-15 and 19-22 from 9 a.m. until noon. For reservations, please call 949.467.5810.