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By Dave Smith, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
/ Published June 24, 2016
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo. - A young golfer swings away on the Silver Spruce Golf Club driving range at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., June 22, 2016. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 came together to participate in a five-day golf camp to improve their game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo. - Young golfers line up to practice their swings at the Silver Spruce Golf Course driving range on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., June 22, 2016. The children benefited from individual time with instructors as they work to improve their game during a week-long Junior Golf Clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo. - Chase Lattemore concentrates on his form as he takes part in the Junior Golf Clinic offered at the Silver Spruce Golf Course on Peterson Air Force Base Colo., June 22, 2016. The five-day clinic focused on addressing particular aspects of the sport in order to significantly improve the student’s game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)
A group of young people are getting up early this summer and gathering at the Silver Spruce Golf Course to brush up on their skills and learn some new techniques through the week-long Silver Spruce Golf Academy youth camps for junior golfers.
The next set of five classes runs July 25-29. They are based on the Professional Golf Association Sports Academy program. This method allows instructors more individual time with students to perfect techniques ranging from the short game to long drives.
Each daily session addresses a particular area of the game using detailed discussion and demonstrations, plus on-course execution, to significantly improve the student’s game. The camp sessions are intense and designed with serious game improvement in mind.
They are popular events each summer. The golf course began offering them locally about 5 years ago said Jack O’Brien, Silver Spruce head golf professional. In 2015 the National Golf Foundation counted 3 million junior golfers, between the ages of six and 17, in America. Nineteen of them took part in the first youth camp of 2016 at Silver Spruce.
“It’s a way we can offer, in a short time frame, concentrated (instruction),” O’Brien said. “It’s a fun way to teach, and to be able to do it in a week is marvelous.”
Golfers in the camp are a mix of experience levels from new to those who hit the links regularly. Those new to the game enjoy the lessons and plan to continue golfing after the camp’s conclusion.
“I like it. It’s a good camp for getting started,” said new golfer Sean Jerome, 13. “I came in and knew nothing about the swing, or putting, but the teachers helped me get better.”
A number of campers are back for a second year and they appreciate the focus on developing specific parts of their games, such as putting.
“I like how it focuses on the short game and helps you improve how to get the ball closer to the hole,” said Anthony Huber, 12, a second time attendee.
“I like putting a lot,” said Chase Lattemore, 8, “and going for longer distances on the putt. I like the competitions we have on putting.”
Jacob Limb, 12, a second time camper, likes the personal attention offered at the camp.
“I like how it’s focused,” he said. “I like that they give you personal instruction and how they focus on you as a person and making you a better golfer. I like how they address you a group first, then one-on-one for individual instruction.”
O’Brien said students usually leave the camps ready to take their golf game to a new level, however he has a word of advice for parents.
“We like to emphasize to the parents to take them out and golf when they ask, because if they don’t use it they’ll lose it,” O’Brien said. With so many other camps kids attend in addition to golf camp each year, he doesn’t want them to forget the skills they gain during the focused golf lessons. “Sometimes they do not play again until camp the next year.”
For this group of golfers, both seasoned and novice, the plans call for continuing to hone the skills learned in camp throughout the summer. Some said they will golf with family members, on vacation and one chose to golf for his birthday.
O’Brien said the focus of the camp is golf skills, but the kids pick up courteous behavior and camaraderie as an additional benefit.
“At the beginning most of them didn’t know each other,” O’Brien said, “But they aren’t strangers any more. This is a great class, a great group of kids.”
There is a $250 fee for the camp, which includes lunch and beverages throughout the day. To sign up, or for more information, contact the Pro Shop at (719) 556-7414 or visit http://www.petersonafbgolf.com/