Academy growing golfers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Twenty-one youngsters ranging from ages nine to 15 participated in the first day of the annual Junior Golf Academy Monday at the Duncan Park Golf Club.

Duncan Park golf pro Marvin Gray said the first day of this event, which he has hosted since 1997, went very well.

&uot;Everybody that’s been here has been attentive,&uot; he said. &uot;We limit our classes to 12 in each class. I had one no-show in the 8 a.m. class and two in this (10 a.m.) one.&uot;

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The 10 participants in the 9 to 12-year-old age group and the 11 participants in the 13 to 18-year-old age group were given lessons on putting and chipping on the practice putting green Monday.

&uot;I feel like every participant has learned something that will enable them to become better short-game golfers,&uot; Gray said.

Two of the participants at this year’s Junior Golf Academy have taken part in this event in previous years: 15-year-old Benton Thornton of Natchez (1999) and 15-year-old Daniel Gousset, also of Natchez (1998 and 99).

Thornton said participating in this event is fun and that he’s learned a lot about the game of golf.

&uot;You just get out here and golf and have a good time,&uot; he said.

He also said Gray helped him with his driving two years ago and helped him with his putting this time around.

Gousset said this event is &uot;all right. It gets me out of the house.&uot;

He said participating in the event has helped him hit the ball better.

As for what tips he got from Gray, Gousset said, &uot;Lining up the ball when I get ready to putt.&uot;

Another golfer who is participating in the Junior Golf Academy for the first time is 13-year-old Matthew Anders of Natchez.

&uot;It’s a lot of fun,&uot; said Anders, who has been playing golf for five years.

He said Gray showed him how to putt and later in the session how to chip the ball.

Gray said despite a high probability of rain for the Miss-Lou area Tuesday and Wednesday, the Junior Golf Academy will be a four-day event.

&uot;We’ll watch films and go over rules and etiquette tomorrow (Tuesday),&uot; he said. &uot;We’ll rearrange our schedule according to the weather.&uot;