Golf in North Carolina is a pastime unmatched by few other regions throughout the nation. From the shores of the Outer Banks to the lofty slopes of the Black Mountains, golf courses pepper the state landscape.
However, interest in the game of golf is facing a growing decline, and the number of reasons “why” need to be faced head on to insure the sport remains a cornerstone of our great state.
Mountain Air Country Club in Burnsville recently teamed up with the Symetra Tour to take action, and encourage interest by sharing the game of golf with the next generation of enthusiasts. Both beginners and team members from the local high school and middle schools took part in a golf clinic, sponsored by Beverly-Hanks and Associates, that taught young women and young men proper technique and to answer questions from the eager participants.
Symetra Tour members Madeleine Sheils and Shayna Miyajima made the trip to Mountain Air on Tuesday and along with Mountain Air’s Bre Hall, Director of Golf Instruction, they taught students how to improve their short game, both in chipping and putting.
“This is important for every tour stop that we have” said Sheils. “There’s always at least two or three clinics during the tournament week.”
Sharing The Game
The Symetra Tour, previously the LPGA Futures Tour, was in town for the “Friends of Mission Charity Classic” and took the time to give back to the local community.
“I thinks it’s really important that the (Symetra) tour does that at each stop,” insisted Hall. “We really have to make sure we’re paying attention to getting the younger generation into the game.”
Both Sheils and Miyajima can relate to the young golfers who were there to gain some key pointers from the pros. Sheils first had a club in her hands at the age of five and was playing tournaments when she was eight years old, while Miyajima began her golf journey when she was eight and started competing in tournaments at the age of ten.
When asked her thoughts on how to encourage participation in the game, whether for kids and teens or adults attempting golf for the first time who may feel a hint intimidation, Miyajima shared “I love par three courses. I think that’s huge even at our level to play those kinds of courses. Those yardages are crucial.”
Keeping Golf Fun
Watching these LPGA hopefuls spend time with the young attendees highlighted their passion for the game and their joy of sharing it with others was contagious. They have worked hard to get to where they are and continue to strive for the next level. Though they endure hectic schedules and long hours, they have not lost sight of what is important.
“Even if you’re only out there for nine holes for two hours, just having fun with the other people that you’re with and enjoying the scenery and being outside, I think that’s what keeps golf really fun,” Sheils added.
The recurring theme in discussing the game they love was “have fun!”
“It’s about being out there and enjoying the social part of it instead of just focusing strictly on the game. Yeah, we want to learn and we want to improve, but it’s having fun with it at the same time,” stated Hall.
It’s not everywhere that a venue like Mountain Air’s Lost Chimneys Golf Learning and Performance Center exists, much less affords the opportunity to young golfers to hone their golf skills. Hall, who has been Mountain Air’s Director of Golf Instruction since August 1, 2013, was quick to discuss how Mountain Air permits their amenities to be utilized by the local golf teams.
“The fact that this community is so open to allowing the kids to come up and play and practice and giving them the facilities that they have here is just outstanding. I think it’s fantastic,” explained Hall.
That’s exactly what the young golfers were able to do, and they were able to do so while having a whole lot of FUN!