Youth learn the game of golf at local camp

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

WASHINGTON — The inaugural Spring Superball Program wrapped up its seven-week schedule with a five-hole superball tournament held at the Washington Yacht & Country Club last Sunday.

Winning first place overall with a score of 21 was the team of Clarissa Midyette, Sally Ross and Anna Reid Moore. A score of 26 saw Max Vansant and Luke Ross place second overall, and first in the boys’ division. Sam Warren and Ross Moore shot a 27 and the team of Gavin Sawyer and Micah Whitley finished with a score of 28.

Kain Ross, who created and ran the camp with the help of eight other volunteer coaches, said the tournament was a success, based off the pride and enthusiasm the kids showed during the award presentation.

“In handing out the trophies, you could tell they were very, very excited,” Ross said.

The golf camp, which was for boys and girls ages 7-12, began with six weeks of instruction, meeting on Sundays at the Washington Yacht & Country Club. The program was then capped off with the tournament, which was originally to be played several weeks ago, but several scheduling conflicts pushed it back to last Sunday.

Ross said the lessons each Sunday were designed to build up the program participants for the camp-ending tournament.

“(The coaches were) making sure they’re on the right track with stance, grip and understanding how to respect the golf course, which is very important,” he said. “Then we just tried to get them swinging and getting use to hitting a whole bag of balls, instead of just four or five balls.”

Ross added that learning how to putt on the green and successfully two-putt was another thing the kids worked on through the camp.

But the program wasn’t just focused on the skills of the game. Proper golf etiquette was also on the agenda.

“Don’t drag your feet on the green, fix your ball marks. We showed them how to do that; how to respect the people they’re playing. There’s so much to learn about golf. When playing with a group, we’re teaching them, ‘hey, you don’t walk across their lines if they’re getting ready to putt,’” Ross said. “I just introduce them to every aspect of the game. And trying to teach them that this is a game that you can play with your grandfather when he’s 80-years-old. It’s something that you can go out there and compete for the rest of your life or just play for fun.”

Part of the reason Ross decided to start the Spring Superball Program was because he felt there was a lack of golfing options for kids in the area. He had been travelling to Greenville the past two years so his own kids could participate in a golf camp there.

Ross said Greenville was the closest area to do go, but he wanted to change that.

“There were enough kids that have an interest in golf. And there are not many courses to play close by and these kids in Washington were having to travel to Greenville,” Ross said. “I just felt like we needed something in the spring locally.”

Another key reason Ross decided to start the program was to give kids in the area a chance to develop a love and appreciation for golf at a young age, unlike himself. Ross, who began golfing at 25, said he instantly fell in love with the game and described it as the “best thing ever.”

He said he wishes he started playing at a younger age because “I feel like it would’ve kept me on a better track on a young age.”

“It was something that I felt like I really missed out on, because at 25 I developed such a love and passion for it. And I wanted to give these kids an opportunity to start young because there’s so much to learn on a golf course,” Ross said. “You keep your own score, there’s honesty, integrity. It’s all about learning to be an honest person, keeping a true score.”

The first Spring Superball Program just came to an end, but Ross is already looking ahead to the future. He’s even thinking of adding another camp later in the year.

“I’m planning on having another spring league and I’m actually giving thought to having a fall league, (starting) this fall,” Ross said.