Fox Run welcomes future Tiger Woodses with free lessons

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times


GALLUP, July 11, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Donald Good, 8, from Gallup, swings at the ball on Monday morning during the Junior Golf Program in Gallup

SECOND FROM TOP: Golf instructor John Taylor, right, shows his young golfing students how to stand before the putting the ball on Monday during the Junior Golf Program at the Fox Run Golf Course in Gallup.

W hat better way to spend your days of summer then on the greens of a golf course?

Kids participating in the Junior Golf Program at the Fox Run Golf Course in Gallup got the idea as they learned the basics of playing the game.

The Junior Golf Program is in its third year and started its golf sessions at the beginning of June. This year hosts the highest number of youth participates yet.

More than 85 kids have signed up for the program's free summer sessions. There are five sessions throughout the summer and the kids signed up can attend any one of them.

"It doesn't cost the parent anything other than the effort to come in and be a part of the program," said Program Co-Coordinator Gordon Nez. Everyone is welcome.

"They like it, they really do," said Mary Booker whose kids Keion, 7, and Kyanna, 10, are a part of the program. "It gives them something to do for the summer, plus it's good exercise."

Program co-coordinator John Taylor said that the kids will learn through several volunteer instructors the fundamental rules of golf, proper golf etiquette as well as how to be safe and have fun with the game.

"I love all the teachers," said Brooklyn King, 9, because with so many kids if there was only one teacher you wouldn't get to learn much from them. King added that she's learned how to properly grip and swing a golf club as well as the proper posture.

"Golf is a very complicated game," Taylor said because one minute you are trying to hit the ball 300 yards and the next you are trying to roll it a foot.

"It's a lifelong sport," Taylor said, noting that some people play into their 90s.

"It's very social," Taylor added as another reason to learn. It's a sport that will introduce you to a lot of people when you go out onto various golf courses.

They will also learn the nine values of golf and life during the sessions, which are honestly, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment, Taylor added.

"Our intent here is to get as much exposure (as possible) to the game of golf," said Nez. He believes that, next to archery, golf is the best way for youth to learn life skills. "All kids are welcome."

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the front nine holes are closed for the program so the more advanced youth are allowed to play on those courses, Taylor said. Also reserved for the youth are the putting green, short grass course and the driving range.

Makylla Pino, 6, is staying with her grandparents this summer in Gallup. She "came here to learn about golf and hit the ball." So far the lessons are working because Pino said the most fun she has during these sessions is when she is able to hit the ball.

Mato Chapman, 9, from Gallup said he likes how he is learning how to chip and putt. "Chipping easy because you just have to go under the ball and it will go up, and then you get the putt," he explained.

Chipping is when the ball is just a few feet shy of being on the green (putting surface) of the hole and the golfer has to hit the ball onto the green. Putting is a short golf stoke used with a club called a putter when you are on the green.

Chapman said this was the first time he's ever been a part of the program or really played golf. He said he wanted to learn more about golf because he first played the game with his dad and he "just liked it."

Ditto for Donald Good, 8, from Gallup who has been playing golf for the past three years, but just started in the junior golf program. Good added that he just likes being able to hit the balls because it reminds him of baseball, a sport he also plays.

"Spending time with all your friends," Good said is what he enjoys most about playing golf and being a part of the program.

Kids between the ages of 6-17 can sign up for the course and 5-year-old children are allowed to participate with parent supervision. Applications for the upcoming sessions from July 22-25 are available at the Fox Run Golf Course. Sessions are held Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"The longer you stay the more you learn and the better you get," said Nez.

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