A new junior program recently completed it’s second season this past August at the Gilbert Plains Country Club in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba. The program is run by local club members and program founder Ryan Rauliuk and Ron Chapen with the goal to introduce young people ages 8-14 to the sport of golf in a relaxed and fun environment.
Every Wednesday afternoon in July, juniors are offered the opportunity to play 9 or 18-holes and parents and grandparents are encouraged to walk the course with their children. The program follows a relaxed structure and mimics a “house league” format similar to minor hockey with desired outcomes such as getting boys and girls to play together, learning how to play the game, learning golf etiquette and of course to have lots of fun. Juniors receive a golf shirt for participating and also a snack during each play day.
The program is fortunate to have received support from Scott McCallum, General Manager of the Gilbert Plains Country Club. The course ensures tee-times are available and also helps to encourage junior participation by offering lessons and club memberships for only $100 per junior.
Program coordinator Ron Chapen also notes that this program is a way to help stimulate interest in the golf club. “If we continue to get more people out and show the parents and grandparents what a golf course is all about, the better it will be,” said Chapen who is also the former general manager of the Dauphin Lake Golf Club, “Adults bring their kids out, go to the pro shop, and then to the restaurant. All this helps keep our golf courses going.”
Chapen says the program grew in 2019 with 32 participants up from 28 in 2018. He says plans are in the works to expand the program in 2020 by encouraging participation in juniors 7 years of age and younger.
The 2019 season concluded with a wind-up event including a fun team game along with dinner and prizes for all participants.
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