If you wanted to pick a sport you could start at an early age and continue as long you were still able to stand, golf would certainly be in the top handful, along with curling and lawn bowling—all Scottish inventions, by the way.
According to Hope Golf Course operator, Bonnie Cianfagna, there’s no shortage of the ‘still able to stand’ players. It’s the young ones who need to be brought along, for the good of continuity on the local course.
“Our Junior golfers are the future of our club, as the average age of our membership would be about 70 years old,” said Cianfagna, who operates the course with her husband, Vince.
“Several of these members have been donating time and energy to the course for many, many years and although they continue to be an integral part of the club — even after having hung up their golf clubs — I’m sure they would welcome the younger generation taking over where they left off.”
To attract young players, the course is offering a number of programs and incentives.
“We’re offering free golf for the age twelve and under golfer, when accompanied by an adult, with even the golf equipment free of charge to use,” said Cianfagna.
As well, a junior membership is only $169 for annual green fees, allowing golfers 13 – 17 years of age unlimited golfing all season. Considering that 9 holes on a weekday would cost $14 for a junior — and $30 for 18 holes on a weekend, this could be a bargain for any youth who planned to play just one round per week.
“Our objective is to make golf affordable for all of our junior golfers, so that all can get a taste of this wonderful sport,” said Cianfagna.
Included in the junior membership is a 45-minute private lesson, to ensure a certain level of proficiency, as the teen-aged juniors are allowed to golf unsupervised.
The Cianfagnas, who are both golf professionals and the pro shop’s Charlie Grant, a retired golf pro, will be hosting clinics for juniors this spring. The beginner clinic runs on May 27, June 3 and June 10. The $89 fee covers the three sessions, with a 3-hole game, lunch and prizes on the final day.
The advanced junior clinic, for age 12 and up, is on June 3 and 10. $69 covers the two sessions and a 3-hole game, lunch and prizes on the final day. At both clinics, all equipment is provided without extra charge.
Starting on July 8 the weekly junior league begins, with Monday 9-hole game afternoons.
“It’s for golfers aged 12 and over, or for younger ones who are able to pass the level one requirements,” said Cianfagna. “They’ll have a 20-minute range warm up and pointers given to them from our training staff, then they’ll be teeing off at 2:00 pm. The cost for non-members will be $5, which will also include a draw prize at the end of their round.”
Cianfagna added that the Wednesday men’s nights tee off at 5 p.m. and are drawing 20 to 30 golfers.
“On Thursdays, our ladies rule the course with a 5:15 pm start,” said Cianfagna. “Although we’re a small group now, our numbers will increase as we get the word out that we are here truly for all levels of golfers — and boy do we have fun!
“I feel we need to get rid of the stigma that the league is only for the ‘good’ golfers, when it’s more for the women who would like to enjoy a round of golf, while meeting other ladies who like the same.
“All of our course leagues are open to the public, are drop-in, and include optional meal and draw prizes,” added Cianfagna.
To learn more about what the Cianfagnas and staff are offering at the course and clubhouse, see www.hopegolfclub.com.