Ming Tsang Jr. lines up a putt during a junior clinic at Bear Mountain Resort. The lessons have drawn six to 10 juniors per week since they began at the end of May.

West Shore junior golf programs building a love for the sport

Bear Mountain, Olympic View clubs make golf fun for kids

With Canadian golfers like Graham deLaet and Brooke Henderson performing on the world stage at the Summer Olympics in Rio, some West Shore youngsters are eagerly looking to follow in their footsteps.

Junior golf programs at both Bear Mountain Resort and Olympic View Golf Club have been popular this year, with six to 10 kids on average attending Bear Mountain’s weekly junior clinics and sold out day camps at Olympic View.

While instruction is important, said Bear Mountain assistant golf pro and junior co-ordinator Jaegan Patron, he places more focus on fun, especially as the kids are just being introduced to the sport.

“We always try to make it fun for them. Obviously if they are learning too much stuff right off the bat, they tend to get discouraged if they don’t pick it up right away,” he said.

Patron acknowledges that the competition for children’s attention can be fierce, with numerous other sporting exploits vying for their time. But he believes golf is a great way for kids to develop friendships. “You just never know who you’re going to run into out on the course,” he said.

Participants at Bear Mountain’s clinics are given a chance to practice on the putting green, at the driving range, and even on the course over the course of the 90-minute sessions, with Patron providing instruction across all facets of the game.

“For some of them, the range isn’t really as interesting … but once you get them out on the course and they actually see the way the game is played … it tends to get them a little bit more excited,” he said.

Matt Cella, the director of instruction at Olympic View and the coach of the B.C. junior team, said participation in golf among children and youth is on the rise.

“There’s certainly a lot of kids getting into golf … we’ve actually had to go and allow the kids in from the wait list and [hired] extra instructors to teach our [summer camps],” he said.

Cella added that experience with other sports puts a junior golfer on the right track for early success.

“We find that any kids – even the young kids like the four, five or six year olds – if they’ve done anything like gymnastics or dance or anything that takes a lot of co-ordination, they pick up golf really quickly,” he said.

Ball position, grip and stance are the most important skills for juniors to learn, Patron said, but he also stresses golf etiquette in his teaching.

“There’s a few people who don’t like seeing [kids] on the golf course because they don’t really know the [etiquette] and they’re running on the green and stuff like that, so we always try to introduce them right way,” he explained.

The learning curve is a steep one, and Patron said his reward comes in the form of seeing the kids improve from one week to the next.

“When the light bulb goes off in their head, it’s definitely rewarding as an instructor.”

To find out more about the clubs’ junior golf programs, visit bearmountain.ca or golfbc.com/courses/olympic_view.



Just Posted

Victoria Police seize drugs, replica firearms and $50,000 in cash after searching Victoria home

A property in the 600-block of Manchester Avenue is focus of investigation

Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Province allows drugstores to sell cigarettes and some feel policy should change, retailers disagree

VICTORIA FRINGE FEST: There’s always something new to discover on stage

33rd annual live theatre festival has numerous styles and topics to choose from

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

PHOTOS: India Mela celebrates culture, dance and food

The annual downtown event brought culture and fun together

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Most Read