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Monday morning tee time

Free golf for youth growing in popularity

June 16, 2009
Matt Mullally

Twelve-year-old Devon Berg addresses his ball on the tee, and with a "ping sound" from his driver, his ball sails down the first fairway, and his Monday round of golf begins.

He's not alone.

There are many Rugby youth hitting the links for free golf each Monday morning, sponsored by the Eagles Club and Rugby Golf Course.

Now in its second year, the program is growing in popularity, introducing the game to some, and providing a regular time for others to play.

"It's really encouraging to see these kids playing,' said Gary Myhre, golf course employee, who came across the idea from a newspaper article featuring a free youth golf program in Hawley, Minn.

Myhre talked to the Rugby Eagles and the golf club about offering a similar program in Rugby, and the two boards backed it.

"The Eagles promote a lot of youth activities, and this seemed to fit that, plus it gives kids an alternative to baseball in the summer,' Myhre said.

Monday mornings work the best for the club, since typically it's the quietest time of the week and a perfect time for beginning golfers to learn the game at a comfortable pace.

Myhre, who is high school golf coach, spends a few minutes with the golfers as they play their round, giving a few instructional tips.

Berg was golfing with his cousin, Trevor Longie, 12, on this day.

"(Golf) it's challenging,' he said, adding his favorite part of the game is putting.

The boys have family members who golf, but they enjoy the chance to play together and with peers.

Twelve-year-old Elizabeth Blessum was golfing along side her 10-year-old brother Jacob. She said it's the first opportunity to golf without their dad. "I like golf because it's fun, and it's good exercise,' she said.

And it's a game that can be played for a lifetime.

"This program gives them the opportunity to try it and see if they like it,' said Myhre, who's helped a few beginners find youth clubs to get their start.

In time, this introduction to the game may encourage more to keep at it and eventually become golf club members.

The program has led to inquiries about lessons, something Myhre is looking to work out.

Growing the game is the mission of the U.S.G.A., the governing body of golf, and Rugby's course is doing it, one Monday morning at a time.

About the program

Free youth golf is open to boys and girls ages 9 to 18 every Monday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. It is offered through the second week of August, and a youth tournament is scheduled that month. For more information, contact the course at 776-6917.



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