Editor’s Note: This story will appear in the Miami Valley Sunday News this week.
TROY — Kyler Booher understands the importance of introducing young golfers to the game in the right way.
Booher, the PGA Club Professional at Miami Shores and his assistant Connor Hockett recently completed the fifth year running of the U.S. Kids Junior Golf Program.
“We have been doing this since I have been here,” Booher said.
The six-week program starts with an introductions to the basics (putting, chipping, pitching, full swing) as well as going over rules and etiquette.
“For sure, it is (an introduction to the game of golf),” Booher said. “The first few weeks we go over the basics of the swing and work in rules and etiquette. Basically, we want them to understand to respect others — not just in golf, but in life. The last couple weeks we get them out on the golf course to give them a chance to play.”
There are two age groups — 6-10 and 11-14 — and Booher likes to work in small groups.
The younger age group had 12-15 in it and the older age group had 10.
“We are not neccessarily interest in having 50 or 60 kids or 100 kids,” he said. “We like to limit the numbers. That way, the kids are able to get some one-on-one instruction at some point.”
Booher understands they are not all going to become gung-ho about golf — but many will return to the game at some point.
“Let’s say they don’t continue to play, but as they become adults decide to start playing again,” Booher said. “I feel like it is beneficial for them to have gone through this program and they will remember some of the things they have learned.”
One key for youngsters is making it fun.
Booher makes sure that happens, whether it is chipping and putting games or even when they get on the golf course.
“Adults may enjoy the solidarity of the game,” Booher said. “But, with young kids, it is all about making it fun. We will play games like Tic, Tac, Toe when they are chipping and when we get them on the course, we will play a three-player scramble — just to try and make fun for them.”
As a number of future golfers learn the game the right way.