By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — There were smiles all around.
And hot dogs and ice cream awaiting when they finished.
Exactly what the PGA of America had in mind when they created the PGA Junior League.
Sunday’s match at Piqua Country Club featured the PCC Junior League team hosting Miami Shores.
“Essentially, they were trying to create something similar to little league baseball,” Miami Shores Golf Professional Kyler Booher said. “They wanted to create a team game. Let’s face it, golf is a social game. It is a team game.”
The idea is for the kids to learn about the game of golf, in a somewhat competitive environment and still have fun.
And it was clear both teams were doing exactly that.
“The kids have a ball,” PCC assistant pro Braden Hengst, who along with Booher and former Troy golfer Nate Uhlenbrock were out there to help the groups. “The kids are learning about the etiquette of the game and we use a scramble format. They have a ball and there are times it is competitive, which is a good thing.”
Whether it is learning to repair a ball mark, where to stand when someone else is hitting, not walking in the line of their putt or what order you play in, the kids are learning things they can use for the rest of their lives.
“The kids are learning life lessons,” Hengst said. “The PGA Junior League has come up with a great way to introduce kids to the game and keep it fun for them.”
This is PCC’s second year having a team, while Miami Shores has a team for the first time.
“When I worked out in Colorado, we had teams,” Booher said. “So I was glad to be able to do it here. It is a great experience for both the kids and their parents.”
Booher has rules in place to help keep it fun.
“We are the only ones who are allowed to coach,” Booher said. “All the parents come out and watch their kids play. We also put importance on pace of play. I limit my kids to one practice swing. You won’t see anybody in blue (Miami Shores) taking more than one practice swing. Unless they are chipping around the green. Those are shots you might want to take more than one practice thing.”
The scoring system is a little different, to help get all the golfers involved.
“Every three holes is worth a point, called a flag,” Booher said. “It is a little different than the normal scoring system.”
And the program will benefit all golfers.
Being introduced to the game properly, these young golfers will know the etiquette of the game when they become adult golfers.
“Everyone has a good time,” Booher said. “Whether it was in Colorado or here, I have never had anyone come up to me at the end of the season and say, ‘that was a waste of time.’ The kids and parents all have a great experience.”
“I would have loved to have something like this when I was getting started in the game,” he said.
After all, what could be better than a little competitive golf, followed by hot dogs and ice cream?
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
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