Of the four teenagers standing outside the small blue Mendenhall Golf Course clubhouse, 16-year-old Connor Norman most fits the part of a youth golfer. Sporting a black Under Armour polo, he’s the only one wearing something dressier than a T-shirt.
Fortunately, there’s no manadatory dress code for the Juneau Junior Golf Club. In fact, there’s barely a cost.
This Sunday is the beginning of the club’s 12-session summer program, which is desperately seeking more participants. Last year, 12 boys made up the program. This year, organizers are hoping for a much heftier number that includes girls.
“Any game that’s been around for 400 years and is going strong has to have something to offer the human spirit,” said Diane Mayer, one of three coaches in the program that continues each Sunday until August 20 at the course (located at the end of Industrial Blvd).
Participants are taught the skills, rules and etiquette of the game during the weekly afternoon sessions. The normal cost for a round at Mendenhall Golf is $13, but thanks to donations from the Juneau Golf Club, participants pay only a fraction of that cost. Fifty dollars covers all 12 sessions, club rentals and one bonus round of golf per week.
“The people are just nice all-around,” Mitchell said of the prorgram. “They’re fun to hang out with, fun to play with, and it’s one of those things that doesn’t take too much work to play, so you can just casually go out and do it.”
Davis, 15, joined the club last year.
“I wasn’t great at first, still not great, but I’m just trying to get better,” Davis said, adding that his putting causes him the most problems.
Mitchell said he struggles with his drives, but gives these words of encouragements to those on the fence about joining: “You’ll get better; everyone will get better,” he said.
In July, PGA teaching pro and former University of Washington golf coach Bill Tindall will give junior golfers a group clinic.
A required parental approval form for all participants can be found online through www.juneaugolf.com. There will be a meet-and-greet with the program coaches Guy Thibodeau, Tom Daugherty and Diane Mayer at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.