Local Juniors Get First Class Golf Instruction:
Whitewater Golf Club
by Scott A. Sumner
Junior golf will be prominent at the Whitewater Golf Club this year according to Matt Simmons, Director of Golf at Whitewater Golf. “ We are trying to develop excellence at the junior level and are starting with junior programs for those 13 to 18 years old. We are looking to develop the juniors game for tournament golf and possibly allow them to go on to golf scholarships but also to develop as great golfers and individuals,”said Simmons. “ For a price of $50 they will get 1 1/2 hours of instructing of one form or another working on the mechanics of the game but also on the rules of the game and getting ready for events. We will be bringing in top golfers like Walter Keating Jr, and their experiences. Once the juniors are done the practice they are getting 18 holes of golf on the course, which is like the courses they will find in Southern Ontario. They will also get a meal on the golf course, not a normal
meal but good from a nutrition standpoint. It is getting the proper food in you that will sustain your focus for 18 holes. There wil be some charting to track their games to be able to fine tune the training.”
“ The training and records will show what part of the game needs the most work. In May we will be on Sundays. Once everyone is out of school it will be most Fridays. The program will be for kids who want to be real tournament players. Thunder Bay has had a real issue with gaining tournament ability for our junior golfers. The golf has been stagnant for scholarship opportunities. We have the facilities, the skill sets and great things happening here at Whitewater Golf Club. We can do it right here.” said Walter Keating Jr., former
Canadian Tour player.
“ We are introducing the junior club and 20 juniors to competitive golf instruction and on course play. Today we are going to do some instruction at the driving range, then have lunch and then go on the course and teach some on course etiquette, tournament preparation,
the honour system when you are on the course and what playing the game is all about including pre shot routines. Our goal is help with avoiding letting your nerves get the best of you,” said Dustin Wilson, age 28, of Core Golf Academy based in Toronto. “ It is a great thing in Thunder Bay finally. I came from the junior golf program here but never had golf lessons until I turned pro when I was 19. Now I have been working in Toronto for the past 9 years with some of the top professionals in North America like Sean Foley, Tom Jackson, Jeff Hay, Dr Craig Davies, a nutritionist and Dr. Neil Smith our mental coach who has worked with many PGA players like Mark O'Meara, Hunter Mahan, Stephen Ames and Sean O'Hair.
“ It is a pleasure to come back to Whitewater and work with the team and offer some of my experiences beyond Thunder Bay. You can use golf as a career as an instructor. It has brought a lot of life skills to me. I grew up in the triple A hockey world but ended up in golf which has given me a lot. The harder you work at golf the better you will be and this applies to life as well,” said Wilson. “ Today we have fifteeen 11 to 16 year olds that have not had much
instruction before and are interested in getting better. We are going to get into the swing this week and try to show them how to lower their scores. I am here to give back to the community. I took this week off to give back and offer some of my experience. In Toronto and Orlando at the Core Academy we have been working with Jeff Hunter and Evan Littlefield who are form Thunder Bay. The goal is to get them into US university golf scholarships.”
“ Today is an introduction to competitive golf. It is part of a process of steps to make juniors more competitive in golf. I want to get the kids out of the house, away from the computers and screens playing games. Part of the problem we are not developing golfers is they spend little time on golf and more time in front of computer and tv screens inside,” said Hank Wilke, Golf Thunder Bay Junior Club and Junior Convenor for the TBDGA. “ You have to play a lot of golf.
We played 36 holes a day growing up and now they have instruction opportunities. It is the evolution of golf. Today they are physically fit and have mental coaches. I would love to see the local kids do well in golf.”