Ed Townsend | Democrat
Ben Ackerley, 9, Roscoe Central, lofts a nice chip on to the 18th green during the last afternoon of the Swan Lake Junior Golf Camp. Watching are head professional Bob Menges and Quinton Herzog, 9 (Liberty Central).
Story by Ed Townsend
SWAN LAKE September 6, 2013 At the conclusion of his Junior Golf Camp in August, Swan Lake Golf and Country Club head professional Bob Menges noted that "growing the game of golf" is what golf camps are all about.
When asked what professional enjoyment he feels when teaching these youth the basics of the game, Menges said, "to me golf has consisted of a lot of different things but teaching has always been my favorite part. With these junior camps, when I see kids get done and I see them come back to play at the course with their parents or grandparents, to me that's the most rewarding thing."
Speaking about what success these types of golf camps can bring, Menges talked about David Powers, a sophomore at Eldred Central School who qualified for states as an eighth grader and last spring won the OCIAA championship as a freshman.
Powers, who works at Swan Lake as a cart attendant, started coming to the Junior Camp at the age of five and attended through the age of 10 when he started taking private lessons from Menges.
Bob pointed out that this camp has been ongoing for 18 years and successful young golfers have advanced to high school teams and beyond. In addition to Powers, other participants have included Justin Armstrong, Drew Billard and Josh Goldstein.
In his wrap-up comments to campers, Menges pointed out "that golf facilities will always welcome you if you understand the rules and etiquette of the game and always behave yourself on the golf course and act appropriately."
Menges stressed to the camp golfers "most importantly you must keep up the pace of play and get ready to hit when it’s your turn."
The camp also teaches the skills golfers will need to play the game.
“Every day of the week we do stations in which we rotate them between different shots: putting, chipping, pitching and then the full swing all with video analysis.” Menges said.
Menges is assisted with the camp by Phil Fanning, Kevin Clifford, Ricky Ellison and Pat Donavan. During the afternoon session of the camp, the young golfers out on the course for "on course instruction and we make sure they stick to the basics of putting, chipping and pitching. At the end of camp we have contests in all those shots," Menges said.
Asked what he and his coaches like to see coming out of these types of camps, Menges said, "the best thing is when we open up the paper in the spring and we see some of these kids playing for their high school teams. We can see that they took the game from their junior level and advanced so they could play on high school teams."
This year’s camp was held August 5-9 but the 9th was cancelled due to heavy rain and the last day was completed on August 14.