Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 10, 2014

Budding birdies

Local children learn golf from Tour pros

VALDOSTA — The next generation of great Valdosta golfers met at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club on Tuesday as competitors from the South Georgia Classic taught a group of local children some of the finer points of the game.

In a free clinic hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority and Academy Sports + Outdoors, Tour players acted as instructors, teaching the basics of driving, putting and chipping to children from ages 7-12.

"The kids were really excited about the event and they've really taken to it." said VLPRA director of marketing and public relations, Jessica Catlett. "Parents look at it as a fantastic opportunity to bring their kids out and introduce them to the game, and these kids are really getting one-on-one instruction from professional golfers who could be on next year's tour."

Golfers who competed in the South Georgia Classic worked with the children on golf fundamentals in a small group setting, allowing for plenty of face time for each child.

"The neat thing is, it doesn't matter what their experience level is," said Catlett. "We've had kids out here that have only played miniature golf and putt-putt, and then we've had kids who've played for their teams — we had one kid out here today that's dad is a golf coach — but no matter what they all come away with something because the pros tailor it to each child."

Golf can sometimes viewed as a sport for elder athletes which is why the influx of children at Kinderlou on Tuesday is an exciting prospect to the South Georgia Classic tournament manager Joerdan Simpson.

"It's been great for the South Georgia Classic to get the kids of the community involved," said Simpson. "Having a wonderful partnership with the VLPRA and Academy Sports and what they've done for the golf tournament: bringing kids out  here, getting kids involved in the game, and getting them interested in it early on in life is just a wonderful thing we love to see continuing to grow throughout the years.

"We can't thank our sponsors enough for the help they do in bringing that to the event."

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