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JBSA-Randolph youth play 'game of a lifetime'

By Senior Airman Precious Yett | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | July 6, 2012

6/20/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Oaks Golf Course held their annual junior golf clinic here June 11-15.

Primarily for beginners ages 7-14, the clinic enabled children to learn the rules of golf, course etiquette, safety and techniques. They're also able to play the Randolph course.

The clinic is held in mid-to late-June annually and has been happening at Randolph for more than 10 years.

This year, 26 children participated in the clini. In the past, the clinic has held up to 60 participants.

If a child already had golf clubs, the cost was $50, but if they did not have golf clubs, the clinic was $125, Troy Gann, Professional Golf Association instructor, said.

Once the child has attended the clinic, part of the fee allows them to play golf at the course for the rest of the summer without any additional charge.

"It's just a basic class to get the kids started, to get them interested in the game," Gann, who has more than 35 years of experience in golfing instruction, said. "Kids are the future of golf."

There were six instructors available to teach the students. The class was open to Department of Defense ID cardholders and their children.

After purchasing or bringing golf clubs, the participants did not need to bring anything else to the clinic, but were required to be comfortable and prepared for the Texas weather by wearing loose-fitting clothing and hats, and staying hydrated was emphasized.

The instructors received all positive feedback from the children and their parents, Gann said. Due to having fewer children enrolled in this year's clinic, the instructors were able to spend more time teaching the children.

"We encourage all kids to come back out and play," Gann said. "Golf is known as the 'game of a lifetime.'

The course teaches honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and respect for others as well.

"Golfing teaches children integrity, due to it being a self-regulated sport," Gann said. "When you play golf it's an individual sport. It's a game of honesty. When you're on the green alone, you're your own trainer, coach and scorekeeper. You know what's right and wrong."

The clinic was not competition-based. The children were not put under any stress and were encouraged to enjoy the sport, be outside and have fun.

It was a way to get kids to do something physical and not sit inside all summer, Gann said.

The clinic came with rewards not only for the children, but also the instructors.

"The most rewarding time to me is hanging out with the kids," Gann said. "They are the future. Without them coming out to play golf we're not going to have a game."

Due to the efforts of the instructors, there have been several students from JBSA-Randolph who have achieved great levels of professional success at the sport.

"The greatest reward is when you see them start off as little kids and they grow up to be golf professionals down the road," Gann said. "Since I've been here in the last 10 years, we've had four kids out of the junior program who have gone on to receive college golf scholarships."

For more information about the clinic or golfing, call the Randolph Oaks Golf Course at 652-4653.