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Duncan Park to host junior golf lessons

NATCHEZ — Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking won’t say his name, but he’s especially grateful for what this person did.

Because of the generosity of a man who wishes to remain anonymous, Brooking has the resources to host free golf lessons at Duncan Park for the second straight summer starting in June.

The anonymous donor is related to the late Norman Puckett, a local golfer who believed in the importance of children learning to play at an early age, Brooking said.

“When Norman died, this person established the Norman Puckett fund to allow young golfers a chance to play for free,” Brooking said.

“The gentleman gives me $5,000 a year to make sure juniors in Natchez have a chance to learn to play golf. That’s putting you money where your mouth is. A lot of groups will solicit money out of your for their cause, but this man’s donation was unsolicited.”

The lessons will take place each week in June, and are open to children ages 3 to 18, Brooking said. Although the lessons are free, a $5-per-week registration fee is in place to ensure registered children actually show up.

“We’re not going to deny a kid a chance to play for someone else that doesn’t show up without it costing you,” Brooking said.

“We’re taking a maximum of 12 kids per week, so if you register, you’re taking another child’s slot. If you bring the child you registered, you get the $5 back. If you don’t, we keep it.

“It’s not fair to the children to do it any other way. It gives you the incentive to actually bring the child, instead of registering with the intention of, ‘Maybe or maybe I won’t bring them.’”

Giving the lessons will be local pro Tom Bryant from Beau Pré County Club.

“He’s probably the best golf player in the state, and he believes junior golfers,” Brooking said.

“He knows that our future, our jobs, is in the hands of junior golfers because, if we don’t have junior golfers, we won’t have senior golfers one day.”

The idea behind the free clinics are to find the next great Natchez golfers, as well as give local schools the athletes they need to have good teams, Brooking said.

“The next Tiger Woods may be the poorest child out there, we just have to find them, and all we can do is do the best we can to find them with the free clinic,” Brooking said.

“We’re not just looking for the next Tiger Woods, we’re also looking for the next Natchez High School, Trinity Episcopal, ACCS and Cathedral golf player.”

For more information, contact the Duncan Park Golf Course at 601-248-4913.

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