By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Suffice to say 10-year-old Lydia Stinson needed a cure for Summer Cabin Fever.
Muskogee Country Club came to her rescue this week with the annual Dream Camp for beginning youth golfers of all ages.
The St. Joseph’s Catholic School student found something she likes about this game in the process.
“I like to take swings at things and I don’t get to do that at home,” she said. “Plus it’s not like you have to run everywhere to do it here.”
Thirty-six kids ages 8-11 are taking part in the second of three camps offered. The first was ages 5-7 and the 12-16 offering starts Tuesday.
The course offered a camp to the Urban League earlier this summer as well for kids.
“We’re here to promote junior golf in any way we can,” said MCC assistant pro Rip Ohley. “This one has been free, though we’ve accepted donations for the cost of equipment.”
Tutoring equipment comes from Tahlequah-based SNAG Golf and features the snagazoo swing stick aimed at perfecting a golf swing. And there’s no time to prevent bad habits than from the outset.
“I’ve learned when you use a driver, keep your feet planted on the ground unless you want a bad shot,” Stinson said.
Ohley estimates about 100 kids will have participated in the camp before it concludes. Plans call for an advanced camp next year.
“You can tell when a kid is naturally gifted and we have some of those out here,” Ohley said. “There’s no percentage on that, but either way what we’re seeking is to encourage a lot of kids to get into the game of golf because it’s a great sport and one that lasts a lifetime.”
Van Elgin, 7, who attends Tony Goetz Elementary, thinks it’s a sport he can stick with for a long time. His main reason was, well, intriguing.
“I like it because it’s not that loud,” he said. “Other sports are too loud.”
Here’s hoping that changes somewhat. Wait until he sees a guy like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson drop a 60-foot eagle putt.
Especially if he himself makes one one day as a pro.
You wouldn’t want him rattled.