Last week, Oro Valley Parks and Recreation department held its 16th annual Junior Golf Camp.
For a couple of hours each day July 25-28, more than 40 golfers ages 6 to 17 received hands-on instruction from PGA pros at a number of northwest golf courses, including the Golf Club at Vistoso, Crooked Tree Golf Crouse and the Oro Valley Country Club.
With a total of about six hours, novice players were introduced to the sport while those with the basics under their belts received additional tips and advice.
Mike Wilson, a PGA professional golfer, has overseen the camp since the beginning.
He works alongside Billie Loehr, who organizes the volunteers, assigns kids to their groups and coordinates the scheduling of the weeklong camp.
“I think our goal is basically to introduce golf as a fun and a lifelong sport that they can take advantage of,” Wilson said. “We give them the basics to take it to the next level. And, of course, that comes with the support of their parents and their peers.”
Following three days at the camp, the young golfers competed in a scramble-type event on the fourth and final day “just to give the kids a little fun,” Wilson said.
The campers also received daily prizes ranging from visors and shirts to water bottles and golf balls.
“We’ve had some great golfers come through our program,” Wilson said. “Although it’s more of a beginner to intermediate camp, we’ve had some golfers come on and go play through high school.”
Over the course of the 16-year-old camp, Wilson estimated the program has introduced the game of golf to about 1,500 kids in Northwest Tucson.
The camp is made possible with the help of PGA professionals and other volunteers who donate their time to give the kids hands-on training. Those volunteers were: Todd Huizinga, the director of club operations at The Stone Canyon Club; Robert Moreno, the general manager at San Ignacio Golf Club; Robert Taylor, the golf professional at Dick’s Sporting Goods; Scott Schultz, the head PGA professional at Oro Valley Country Club; Susie Meyers, the teaching professional at the Ventana Country Club; and Christa Johnson, PGA professional.
Wilson added the camp is made possible with the help and support of Ainsley Legner, the director of Oro Valley’s Parks, Recreation, Library and Cultural Resources department.
“She has helped maintain the support of the town and the park’s department to keep the camp going,” Wilson said.