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Golf Academy is worthwhile investment

I’ll admit I’ve never played much golf, and when I try, I’m not very good at it.

I’ve had people who have observed my swing tell me I could be good at it if I got some good coaching and kept working at it. I suppose they might be right. I’m a firm believer that you can master anything if you dedicate yourself hard enough and long enough.

Even though it’s not one of my favorite sports, I certainly respect the game. And one thing I’ve noticed since moving to Natchez is how important golf is to the community.

There are many golf tournaments in the area, especially in the summertime. It’s not uncommon to get e-mails asking me to preview an upcoming tournament or put the tournament information in our Daily Scorecard.

A lot of these tournaments are for a good cause, so it’s not surprising to see the participation in them. But I suspect many of the participants simply want a good reason to get out on the green.

Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking and I have spoken many times about the game, and he has certainly given me the impression that golf is a very big deal here. One thing he’s also made a point to stress, though, is making sure the younger generation doesn’t lose interest in the sport.

His logic is if young people don’t get into the game, interest will eventually die off. It’s pretty sound logic, and it’s the reason Duncan Park hosts its Norman Puckett Junior Golf Academy every June.

For the second year in a row, Duncan Park has brought in John McGough, teaching pro from Lakewood Country Club in New Orleans, to help teach young golfers the basics of the game. McGough said his goal was to introduce children to the game of golf, and hopefully see them get hooked on the game.

McGough’s instructions include how to grip properly, how your stance should look and where to place the ball, he said.

“We introduce them to the game of golf and try to make sure there’s another generation playing golf,” McGough said. “If not, then the game dies. Our job is to set the hook and expose them to what a wonderful game golf is.”

Of course, most parents just want their child to do anything other than sit inside and play video games all day. Personally, I enjoyed playing video games as I grew up, so I can’t really relate to that sentiment.

However, I also took the time each day I wasn’t in school — and usually every day after school — to spend time with my friends outside playing sports. There’s just something about actually getting outdoors and playing with your friends that you can’t find in front of a TV.

Golf is a great game to get into because not only can you play with friends, but you can also go out and play by yourself. In addition to that, it’s also a sport someone can keep playing as he or she grows older.

Because of that, I have to applaud Duncan Park, its employees and all the sponsors that make the Norman Puckett Junior Golf Academy possible. Their time, and money, is well spent.