Georgia Magazine - April 2017 - 28
Growing with the game
Golf is rising steadily in popularity among
BY VICTORIA SCHARF DECASTRO
VICTORIA SCHARF DECASTRO
VICTORIA SCHARF DECASTRO
hile many youngsters seem
permanently attached to
their cellphones these days,
it may surprise some people to
learn that more and more children are taking up golf.
"Yes, it's growing. It's a slow
climb, but we are seeing more
kids play," says Karl Gross, PGA
head professional at The Creek
Golf Course at Hard Labor
Creek State Park in Social Circle
and tour director for the Georgia Junior Golf Tour, a developmental tour for golfers ages 7 to Bailey Smith, 16, says golf "teaches
18. The tour plays seven events you to how to respect people, and
from March to August at most you almost kind of mature, in a way, Sisters Anna, left, and Kyia Williams practice almost every
Georgia state park courses and because you learn how to play
day. "It's challenging. It tests your strengths and abilities.
other state-owned facilities.
You can't just go out there and expect to play your best. You
with older people and get more
For those who know little experience."
have to come out and practice consistently," says Anna.
about the game, the objective is
to hit a golf ball from a teeing
ground into a hole on the putting green in the fewest strokes
possible. However, any golfer
will tell you there is a lot more
to the game than chasing a little
-Karl Gross, PGA head professional, The Creek at Hard Labor, Social Circle
ball around a golf course.
"One of the best benefits
is it's a game you can play for life,"
Youth golfers Cameron Bruce of
Cameron, 14, started playing golf
says Gross, adding, "How many other Social Circle, Bailey Smith of Madison because, he says, his dad "made" him.
sports can you play with your grand- and sisters Anna and Kyia Williams of He now admits: "I love it more than
father and your grandma? I can't think Social Circle practice and play regu- anything else. Golf's just it. I think it's
of too many. One of my cherished larly at The Creek at Hard Labor.
better than most other sports."
memories: I played with my dad and
Anna, 17, swung her first club at
Cameron represents a number
my grandfather and my brothers, so age 5.
of kids moving away from traditional
we had three generations all in one
"I started competitively playing youth sports in favor of non-contact
in sixth grade," she says. "I like play- sports like golf, which doesn't require
Playing regularly also can help ing golf because it's just something players to be a certain age or height,
golfers get outdoors and stay fit. different every day; it's something to exceptionally strong or agile. Golf
When you walk a golf course, you work on all the time."
suits him "because I'm small, and I
walk several miles.
"I like how it keeps you hum- know I can't play football or anything
"And then you're carrying your ble," says 16-year-old Bailey. "Some like that because I'd just get beat up
bag and swinging some clubs-it's days you can come out and you can out there," he says, grinning.
good exercise. Riding in a cart, you shoot your best, and the next day you
Kyia, 14, agrees. "It's more relaxstill get exercise, but it's not nearly can come out and play very bad. So, ing, and it's challenging. But it's not a
the same cardio impact," Gross says.
it's always a challenge."
lot of work like other sports."
'One of the best benefits is it's a game you can play for life.
How many other sports can you play with your grandfather
and your grandma?'
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