Learning ‘The Grand Old Game’

By ERIC X. VICCARO

Ste. Genevieve Herald

Three years ago, the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District and Ste. Genevieve Golf Club in Zell began a partnership to provide junior golf clinics.

“The first time we did it three years ago, honestly, I was shocked,” said Ste. Genevieve Golf Club professional Chad Schilli.

What shocked Schilli was the sheer numbers of youngsters who wanted to participate in these clinics.

The first year, more than 50 children were involved in the clinics – and the number has increased ever since.

The general consensus is that the sport of golf is growing in popularity among Ste. Genevieve County’s youth.

Ste. Genevieve head girls’ golf coach Rachel McDaniel said the camp had a specific theme each day last week.

On Monday, July 13, students learned putting.

“We wanted to start on the greens with putting because that’s something they know from playing putt-putt golf,” said McDaniel, who has been with the program for six seasons.

Head boys’ golf coach Ryan Mueller and McDaniel provided most of the instruction. Schilli also gave pointers to the kids.

Chipping was the focus of the Tuesday, July 14, session followed by full-swing instruction on Wednesday, July 15.

On the final day of camp, students’ ages 7-12 participated in a short golf simulation – playing two holes. The older group (ages 13-18) competed on four holes. Parents were also able to walk the course to watch their children play.