Club hoping to attract new players through pilot program in Summerside
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.