CHIPPING IT TO THE GREEN: Local kids spend summer learning the game of golf

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 27, 2017

Many children from around Covington County took the opportunity this summer to learn how to play golf at City of Andalusia’s Youth Golf Camp at Evans Barnes Golf Course.

The kids met up once a week on Wednesday afternoon with instructor Art Gilbert to learn the ins-and-outs of the game.

“This year’s group has been great,” Gilbert said. “We always have great groups, though. This is our 10th year doing the camp and I’ve never had to call a parent about kid.”

Gilbert said that part of the idea of the camp is teaching kids life through golf.

“Growing kids through golf is a great philosophy to go by,” Gilbert said. “The two most important things in golf are practice and patience, and that’s a good way to go through life.”

The fundamentals of the game have also been covered this summer.

“At this age, and any age really, a key component is finding the right size clubs,” Gilbert said. “If the clubs are too short or too long, it’s going to manipulate your swing. That and putting the ball in the right spot of your stance will help eliminate a lot of problems with your swing.”

Gilbert said they have also spent a good deal of time working around the green.

“This summer we also spent a lot of time stressing the importance of the short game,” Gilbert said. “At this age, they still want to hit the ball with a full swing than with a chip. The last three weeks we have been out on the course playing and they have been improving. Seeing them being able to play around the green and watching the way they were controlling the ball was proud moment. After watching the (British) Open on Sunday, you see that’s the way that the game is played.”

Despite the weather, Gilbert said that this year’s camp has been another success.

“We lost a few days to the rain, but that’s something that is going to happen this time of year,” Gilbert said. “It’s also been extremely hot, but the kids have all showed up on time and are always eager to learn.”

Teaching the kids how to play golf is something Gilbert said he enjoys doing.

“I always have a great time out here with the kids,” Gilbert said. “Golf is a game that they will be able to play for the rest of their lives. I hope after the camp is over that they will continue to play and even take their parents with them to play. I wish I would have started playing when I was their age. If they stick with it, we have some kids out here that can go on to be really good golfers. It really has been a great year and I hope the kids continue to come back.”

Gilbert said that he couldn’t have done the camp if it weren’t for his volunteers and the golf course staff.

“There is no way that I could do this without the help of Evans Barnes Golf Course and the staff,” Gilbert said. “I just want to thank them and the volunteers that helped me this year. Wayne Lee and Clifford Eisenberger have each taken time out of their schedules to come out here and help the kids. Clifford will be the first to tell you that you learn just as much teaching as the kids do. You start listening to your own lessons when you are out there playing.”