The Boys & Girls Club’s new junior golf program includes, first row, from left, Harrison Bold, Harrison Tyrrell, Ella Ninneman, Ethan Stone, Nora Holmgren, Lydia Stellmacher, Makayla Gough; back row: Heidi Gelhar, Lee Baird, John Skemp, John Triller and Jim Gelhar.
As early as 2020, Town Square coordinated with the Tri-County’s Boys & Girls Club (BGC) to complement the youth program after Green Lake to provide the region’s children with a safe place to study and grow after school and in the summer.
Makayla Gough, Nora Holmgrem, Ella Ninneman and Lydia Stellmacher practice their golf shots during a golf camp on the Tuscumbia Golf Course in Green Lake.
“The BGC has so much to offer and there has been such a need for service in the Green Lake area,” said BGC mentor and board member Jim Gelhar.
The BGC offers educational and entertainment programs to help children become productive, responsible, and caring citizens.
Recently the Green Lake BGC site launched the Junior Golf Program to take the kids outside and have fun learning how to play golf.
Recently the BGC took the children to Tuscumbia Golf Course for five weeks, where they could learn all about the sport while practicing on a real golf course.
During the golf program, the children learned about the sport, from correct posture when hitting the ball to golf etiquette.
Harrison Tyrrell practices his turns on the driving range of the Tuscumbia Golf Course.
BGC board member and program volunteer Lee Baird said it was really enjoyable to take the kids to a golf course in Green Lake and teach them the sport.
“The kids really enjoy coming out and I think it’s great that I can volunteer for something I’ve always enjoyed doing because I’ve been an avid golfer for over 50 years,” he said.
During the lesson, the boys and girls practiced their turns and hitting the ball on the putting green and driving range in Tuscumbia.
MaKayla Gough aims with her swing at the driving range of the Tuscumbia Golf Course.
They were also taught the safety lessons of golf, such as watching where they swing and looking for incoming golf balls.
Gehlar said a big part of the program was teaching the kids golf etiquette and manners so they learn to respect their fellow golfers and the course.
Nora Holmgrem fills divots on the golf course with sand to make the course look beautiful.
The kids filled in any holes they made in the ground while swinging to keep the golf course beautiful, and at the end of the class they always shake hands to congratulate themselves on a good game.
Green Lake’s BGC Junior Golf Program was created by Gelhar to teach the sport to children in the area and to raise awareness of the recent addition to the Green Lake club.
Harrison Bold, Ethan Stone and Harrison Tyrrell make goofy faces and have fun playing golf in the Boys & Girls Club’s Junior Golf Program.
Gelhar began taking golf lessons to a child he was taking care of at the BGC last year.
Mentors at the BGC need a representative from the club to take part in trips that include mentors and the children, and in 2020 when the youth program slowed due to COVID-19, Gelhar stated that it would be easy to find someone with which one can take part in golf lessons in Tuscumbia.
However, when the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed that summer and the BGC program was able to start in Green Lake, it was difficult to find a representative to accompany you with.
“I thought about the idea of doing a junior golf program; That way I was able to take someone from the BGC with me while we were playing golf and also teach other children in the program, ”Gelhar said.
Gelhar turned to Tuscumbia Golf Course owner, John Geils, to host the children’s program on his golf course.
From left, Makayla Gough, Nora Holmgrem, Ella Ninneman and Lydia Stellmacher practice their golf shots on the Tuscumbia Golf Course in Green Lake.
“I thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity because he has a great putting green and nine hole course and I was so impressed that he was willing to let us use it,” said Gehlar.
Gelhar said everyone at BGC was so grateful to Geils for letting the children use Tuscumbia for the program.
What originally started out as an opportunity for Gehlar to teach golf to the child he was taking care of has grown into a comprehensive program for multiple children to experience the fun of learning the sport.
Gehlar also brings volunteers to join the program every week to teach the children and make sure they are all practicing safety.
“It is great to have volunteers because they not only help the children but also raise awareness of the new BGC in Green Lake,” said Gelhar.