FREEDOM, Wis. – Joey Howe is new to golf.
What you need to know
- Golf saw a recovery in popularity in 2020 that will last into 2021
- A good number of new players and juniors are coming onto the pitch
- Golf course staff and players expect the Ryder Cup to help increase interest in the game
“The most fun is just playing a new game,” Howe said. “The most frustrating thing is that you feel like you’ve figured it out and the next day you are the opposite of what you thought.”
Because of this, the Green Bay resident was on Friday for a one-hour lesson at the Irish Waters Golf Course in Freedom.
“That’s what people tell me to just keep going, so I’ll keep trying,” Howe said.
He worked with Mark Becker, the leading golf professional and operations manager of the course.
Becker said he’s seen a lot of new and returning faces in the game over the past two years.
A pandemic-fueled resurgence of the game, which began in 2020, has continued through 2021, he said.
“Beginners, a huge climb in beginner golf, that’s fantastic for the golf course,” said Becker. “I’ve given more lessons this year than in a decade.”
The course’s junior program continues to grow.
For golfers like Troy Ehnert from Oshkosh, retirement means more time to play. He’s excited to see more people play.
“I hope it keeps growing,” he said. “I know when we’re on the driving range in Oshkosh, I see a lot of younger kids and you see the high school team, which is always great to see young people emerging.”
The Ryder Cup this weekend in Whistling Straits in Kohler is also intended to arouse interest in the game.
“We even had tea time with a couple of gentlemen from Ireland,” said Becker. “They wanted to experience Irish Waters, whose name comes from Ireland. They were a lot of fun and came out and played. “
For Howe, teaching is part of his desire to pick up a new game and stick with it.
“That’s the goal to break 100 and keep going down,” he said. “At the moment I just want to drive straight ahead.”