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Osoyoos Junior Golf Development Program continues to grow and prosper after 18 years
There are only two rules for the young golfers who sign up to participate in the Osoyoos Junior Golf Development Program.
“The only rules are they have to say ‘good shot’ or ‘good try’,” said Bob Blount, who is the founder of the junior development program, which started in Osoyoos 18 years ago.
More than 40 of the 56 young golfers, between the ages of 7 and 16, who participated in this summer’s program, were on hand Sunday at the Osoyoos Golf Club to participate in the annual junior tournament and awards banquet.
As has become tradition, each and every one of the participants is given their own trophy during the banquet and each receives a few words of praise for their commitment and hard work from Blount.
Blount is proud of the fact hundreds of local children and youngsters who visit Osoyoos during the summer months have learned a lot about the game of golf and life by participating in the junior development program.
“We had a junior program that focused solely on teenage boys who showed some talent in golf and I personally decided that wasn’t in the best interests of this golf club or this community,” said Blount. “I thought we had to start a junior development program that encouraged both boys and girls to get involved in the game and I thought the perfect age to start was around seven.
“We started up the program that first year and had some success with it and we’ve been offering it every summer since for the past 18 years. It has been a great success from day one and I’m very proud so many kids have come through our program over these many years.’
This summer’s program was actually the best on record as a total of 56 young golfers registered and took part, starting back in the third week of June, said Blount.
“We’ve had pretty solid numbers the past few years, but this year’s registration was a record with 56 kids signed up,” he said. “We get a lot of kids from Alberta and the Lower Mainland who are here for a few weeks and can’t make it all the way through the program or play in our tournament because they have to get home and ready for school, but it’s wonderful to see our numbers continuing to grow.”
The program is all about teaching the basic skills of a game he truly loves, while also instilling character and a positive attitude for participants, said Blount.
“It’s about trying to become a better golfer and learning the basics, but we also try and teach a proper attitude about golf and sports in general,” he said. “Golf is a very difficult game to learn and get good at, so we’re all about seeing improvement and playing to the best of your ability.
“One of the little mantras I use around the kids if that as long as you’ve tried your best then you’re a winner and we don’t have any losers in this program.”
Seeing the smile on the faces of the children he teaches is what continually brings him back for more, said Blount.
Five youngsters who have graduated from the program helped givelessons during the summer and did a wonderful job, he said.
They include Wayne Harfman, Ben Petreny, Morgan Walker, Jordan Schulting and Bryce MacGregor. Rick Harris, a longtime friend, also helps with giving lessons throughout the summer.
Blount said he and the junior development camp would return next June.
“The kids keep bringing me back for more,” he said. “These kids are so compelling and it’s so wonderful to see them all smiling and enjoying the wonderful game of golf.
“I’m nowhere ready to retire yet, so I’ll definitely be back again next year.”