LONG BEACH — Doug Brown adjusted his grip and narrowed his gaze.
“You want to bend at the waist,” Brown said, clutching his golf club. “Where your arms can dangle, bend at the knees.”
The group of six elementary-aged kids diligently mimicked Brown’s every move.
“That’s perfect,” Brown observed.
It was the first of 10 similar-sized groups on Wednesday, July 3, where more than 80 kids between 6 and 18 turned out for the third Youth Golf Program of the summer at the Peninsula Golf Course in Long Beach.
The new program was launched by course owners Doug and Angie Brown to introduce golf to a new generation.
“The idea is introduce kids to the golf course and make it more approachable; that’s our goal,” Angie said.
The free three-hour program, held each Wednesday from 12 p.m to 3 p.m., started June 19 and will continue until Aug. 28.
More than golf
Each week a different aspect is emphasized, including rules, etiquette, swinging, putting, and chipping. Every 15 minutes kids would rotate to one of 10 stations each designed to focus on a different aspect.
Frisbee golf and FlingGolf, a combination of golf and lacrosse, are taught in addition to traditional golf and run by course staff and volunteers.
“FlingGolf is kind of like lacrosse with how you throw the ball,” Angie said. “It’s a new way people are using golf courses not involving clubs. We’re exploring different ways to use the resource that’s here.”
Roughly five weeks into the program, parents appreciate having an alternative weekly activity for their kids. Each week the number of participants has grown, starting with around 60 the first week.
“We now have at least 80 kids here,” Angie said. “It’s hard being a parent and getting your kids to get out and do fun and exciting things. We really want to be part of the community and provide kids a constructive, positive thing to do.”
Participants receive a membership to Youth on Course, a program that gives kids ages 6 to 18 access to more than 1,200 golf courses nationwide for $5 or less.
“Chambers Bay (a course in University Place) is a Youth on Course. It’s $100 or more for us to go play there, but they get it for $5. It’s an opportunity to get out and play,” Angie said. “If we can keep this many kids interested, we will be busy for a while. We would love to see the high school practice here and kids go out in groups. We want to evolve and develop the program.”