Tom Walsh, Bob Sizemore, Jane Stein & Matt Matarrese of the Birch Ridge Golf Assoc. with their Hooked on Golf graduates.
Thanks to the members of the Birch Ridge Golf Association, a group of 16 youngsters are officially "Hooked on Golf." Part of a national effort to get the next generation as interested in getting on the lynx as they are in video games, the Hooked on Golf program offers youngsters who have never played the game a unique opportunity to have a positive experience on the greens.
According to Bob Sizemore, a member of the Birch Ridge Golf Association, 16 kids were chosen by lottery from 47 local applicants who wanted to participate in the week long golf clinic. The program was offered to kids through the After the Bell program. "Our whole intention is to promote Junior Golf. When our Golf Pro Tom Walsh brought the program to us we decided to fund the program from our dues and tournaments that we put on," said Sizemore.
The Clinic was held June 6th-10th from 9:00am until noon at Birch Ridge Golf Course. Participants received their own golf clubs, bags, and hats along with instruction from Golf Pro Tom Walsh and Matt Matarrese, a former junior golfer who is now playing golf at the college level. "The kids had a great time and hopefully we can do it again and perhaps even do two groups a year," said Sizemore. At the end of the clinic on the 18th green Brandon Rice said he preferred the long game and hitting the ball with his woods even though the ball tended to go both ways more than straight. 10-year-old Rachel said that now that she had her own clubs she would be coming back to play during the summer. Young Cheyenne Lieber said he thought it was way fun but that the best part was being able to play for free. Mason Galbraith said his uncle had told him to watch how Tiger Woods hit the ball and he knew that if he swung hard the ball would go far, but he liked the greens because he had played miniature golf at the Short Stop with his grandpa. "It was a great experience, we all had fun, and these kids are all outstanding and we appreciated being able to work with them," said Sizemore.
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