Golf clinic at Duncan Park gives kids chance to learn game

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Participation for this week&8217;s session of the Junior Golf Academy at the Duncan Park Golf Course may have been lower than it was back in June, but those who did show up were ready to learn about golf.

Only five children registered for the session, but that was partly due to the older division being made up largely of boys who won&8217;t be available all week.

&8220;A lot of the 12-year-olds are on the All-Star baseball team,&8221; Gray said. &8220;About half of the players are golfers.&8221;

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And because of the lack of participation, the two age groups were combined and each session is now going from 8 to 10 a.m. each day.

On day one of the four-day session, the five students learned about putting, chipping and the rules of the Duncan Park Golf Course.

Gray first gave the children lessons on the fundamentals of putting &8212; an easy, slow swing, keeping the head down, the feet spread out and the putter square, and how to line up a putt. He also recommended they take a few practice swings and take their time before putting.

&8220;They&8217;re a lot of fun and they&8217;re energetic,&8221; Gray said. &8220;They&8217;re eager to learn.&8221;

At the end of the first hour, the five students participated in a putting contest to see who could get closest to the hole. Nine-year-old Zachary Pintard, who putted took the win. His putt landed a little over a foot from the hole.

Pintard said he hoped learning golf this week would help him reach his goal in life.

&8220;Golf is my favorite sport,&8221; he said. &8220;I&8217;ve always wanted to be a golfer.&8221;

Pintard&8217;s two sisters, 11-year-old Katie and 12-year-old Sloan, are also participating.

Kellie and Sloan had different reasons why they are participating in this event.

&8220;Because I enjoy watching them play on the PGA Tour and I just wanted to learn how (to) play,&8221; Kellie Pintard said.

&8220;Because it&8217;s a fun sport. It&8217;s not real active, but it&8217;s active,&8221; Sloan Pintard said.

The oldest participant in this week&8217;s Junior Golf Academy is 13-year-old Nathan Latimer. Latimer said he wanted to come out for the week simply because he likes golf.

Eight-year-old Austin Bradley, the youngest of the participants, rounded out the students.

While Bradley doesn&8217;t have a favorite golfer &045; at least not yet &045; the other four said Tiger Woods is their favorite golfer, with reasons ranging from &8220;he always wins&8221; to &8220;he&8217;s a very skilled player.&8221;

&8220;(The Academy&8217;s) been going great,&8221; Gray said. &8220;We&8217;ve had a lot of good students who are eager to learn. This is the third session. This afternoon I have the Special Olympics Golf Academy.&8221;

After a short break for refreshments, the students learned the rules of the Duncan Park Golf Course by reading the rules outside the clubhouse while Gray helped explain them. There was also a chipping contest.

The students learned about full-swing irons and woods during Tuesday and Wednesday&8217;s classes.

They will learn course etiquette, grip and the fundamentals of setting up and aiming a shot today, for the final day of the clinic.