Golf pro­gram

Club hop­ing to at­tract new play­ers through pi­lot pro­gram in Summerside

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS -

Summerside Boys and Girls Club take part in a pi­lot pro­gram that the Summerside golf club hopes at­tracts new play­ers to the game.

The grass was fly­ing more than usu­ally at the Summerside Golf and Coun­try Club’s driv­ing range Mon­day.

Ava Al­lain, 8, swung a club al­most as tall as she was, con­nect­ing with the golf ball more of­ten than not.

“It’s fun. I like hit­ting the balls - I like hit­ting stuff,” she said, of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

It had been a busy day for Al­lain and her fel­low Boys and Girls Club of Summerside day-campers. They were learn­ing some golf skills from Dal­las Des­jardins, re­gional di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Golf Course Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

“I learned how to chip. You have to stay in the long grass, but there’s short grass, and you have to try and get it in the hole,” re­ported Al­lain. “It’s not that hard.” That’s gen­er­ally the re­sponse Des­jardins got from his bud­ding golfers and he’s hop­ing to en­cour­age more of it.

Mon­day’s ex­cur­sion to the greens was part of a pi­lot pro­gram Des­jardins is work­ing to ex­pand to ev­ery golf course in the coun­try. He would like to see more co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the Boys and Girls Club of Canada and would even­tu­ally like to see the clubs in­te­grate golf ex­cur­sions and skill-build­ing into their camps.

Such a pro­gram would ben­e­fit the kids by giv­ing them a fun ac­tiv­ity and ex­er­cise while also con­vert­ing a few into life-long lovers of the sport.

“I think it’s a great fit, just be­cause golf is not a sport that ev­ery­one au­to­mat­i­cally goes to, there’s a per­cep­tion be­hind it as a rich man’s elit­ist sport and that’s some­thing we’re try­ing to break,” said Des­jardins.

Des­jardins got the idea for the pro­gram af­ter work­ing with the Summerside Boys and Girls Club in his for­mer po­si­tion as the gen­eral man­ager of the Summerside Golf and Coun­try Club.

Both clubs have a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship be­cause of the celebrity golf tour­na­ment they or­ga­nize an­nu­ally and through var­i­ous other events. So help­ing some kids to learn golf, and se­cure that af­fil­i­a­tion into the fu­ture, seemed like the next log­i­cal step.

“It’s such a great sport that we hope it con­tin­ues on and con­tin­ues to gain in strength,” he said.


Dal­las Des­jardins, left, in­structs a group of young golfers from the Summerside Boys and Girls Club on Mon­day.

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