Golf pro Tom Walsh helps Hook a Kid on Golf participants with appropriate golf cart etiquette at Birch Ridge Golf Course.
While many outdoor enthusiasts concentrate on hooking a fish in Alaska, folks like Bob Sizemore, Tom Walsh, and members of the Birch Ridge Golf Association are focused on getting kids hooked on golf. Now in its second year the Hook A Kid On Golf program was started on the Peninsula by Tom Walsh at the Birch Ridge Golf Association, “Tom found the program through some research he did and brought it to our attention and the association carried it forward,” said Association member Bob Sizemore. The local program was even written up in the national Hook A Kid On Golf publication sponsored by the National Alliance for Youth Sports. Each participant gets a set of clubs that come from the national program and a week of learning the game from professional instructors. “The main thing we focus on is golf etiquette and rules of the game, I’m a stickler on that and train the kids to leave the course in better shape than when you find it, which is a key to not only learning the game but enjoying it for a lifetime,” said Tom Walsh.
Hook a Kid on Golf participants at Birch Ridge Golf course with pro Tom Walsh, assistant Josh Lansing and super volunteer Jane Stein.
This year’s Hook A Kid On Golf was held at Birch Ridge the first week of June and in Kenai at the Kenai Golf Course the following week. “It may not have as warm and sunny as last year, but we didn’t get rained out either week and the kids had a great time,” said Sizemore. The Kenai program is also sponsored by the Loyal Order of Moose Peninsula Lodge #1942 and the Kenai Golf Association. Sixteen young lovers of the links participated at Birch Ridge this year and 8 in Kenai. Kids are notified through the After the Bell program and local schools and are selected through a lottery process. Madelyn Tice a 12-year-old from Soldotna had only played miniature golf before and was inspired by her experience, “It’s a lot different, I like it a lot and I think I could become pretty good if I practice, it was a lot of fun and having my own set of clubs is pretty cool,” said Madelyn.
Golf Pro Tom Walsh was assisted by Josh Lansing at Birch Ridge, and according to Bob Sizemore, “The perennial super volunteer of Soldotna Jane Stein.” Over in Kenai Pro Don Moock was assisted by Ryan Gluth and members of the Kenai Golf Association. After two years Sizemore is hooked on the Hook A Kid On Golf program and says he’s already looking forward to next year’s program. Hook A Kid On Golf, America’s most comprehensive youth golf program was organized to provide communities with a youth golf program that eliminates the obstacles that discourage youngsters from learning and continuing to play golf while instilling in them an understanding of golf’s rules, etiquette and history.
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