Junior program underway at Indian Creek

Local kids are learning golf basics in seven-week course

You know you’ve got something good when you have to turn people away.

But, as much as the folks at Indian Creek would like to include all the kids who are interested in the second annual Junior Golf Program, it simply isn’t possible.

“The student-to-instructor ratio has to be reasonable because we want the kids to learn something,” said Head Golf Pro and program director Harold Bluestein. “Any more than seven-to-one would be too much.”

Nearly 40 kids signed up for the second year of Junior Golf at Indian Creek. And with four accomplished instructors helping Bluestein and co-director Kevin Springer, the numbers seem to be just about right.

“There is a lot of interest in the community and even outside Hood River,” Bluestein said. “The kids love it, and from what the parents are saying, everyone who signed up is having a really good time.”

The Junior Golf Program started on June 23 and will continue every Monday until July 28. It will conclude on Aug. 4 with a Junior Club Championship, in which participants will compete in three different age groups.

The program is open to kids ages 7-17, and there is no skills requirement to sign up. The only rule is that a player must be a minimum of 7 years old.

“Any younger than that and you’re inviting potential problems,” Bluestein said. “We need to be able to keep the kids’ attention, and age 7 is when they start to show a genuine interest in how to play golf the right way.”

Bluestein and his host of instructors — Greg Ott, David Sword, Trinidad Cardenas, Mark Daly and Springer — are out to teach kids the fundamentals, rules, etiquette and positive values of golf, so they can begin putting them into practice.

In addition to teaching kids proper techniques of driving, putting, chipping and more, the instructors are also trying to encourage the broadening of friendships and social skills on and off the course.

“Not everyone out here has played golf before,” Bluestein said. “There are even a few high-school kids who are playing for the first time. But we just want to spark an interest and show them how fun golf can be for people of all ages.”

Bluestein says he hasn’t seen many of the high school team members on the course yet this summer, but went on to say that he knows how busy high school kids are during the summer.

But, when they do decide to turn out, youth golfers are reminded that Indian Creek offers junior-rate green fees so kids can practice their skills at a reduced price. There is a minimum age requirement of 12. For more information, call Bluestein at 386-7770.

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