August 14, 2013 - Forty-four youths, ages 10-15, participated in the Oxford Hills Golf & Country Club's Junior Golf League this summer, but only two walked away with trophies.
Brent Bouck (right) and Zach Beatty won the first and second flight championships, respectively, in the Oxford Hills Junior Golf League. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Brent Bouck, a sophomore at Oxford High School, won the first flight championship with 23 points, while Zach Beatty, a fifth-grader at Lakeville Elementary, earned the second flight championship with 25 points.
After playing their final nine holes Friday, Bouck shot a 38, while Beatty shot a 45.
"This is the future of golf right here," said Tim Kalohn, director of golf at Oxford Hills, who noted one of the league's main purposes is to generate interest in the game among young people.
"(Golf has) kind of been declining lately because people don't have the free time. It's nice to see all these kids enthusiastic to play."
Players in the annual summer league, which began June 21, were divided into two flights based on age and ability.
"It was pretty competitive this year – a lot of kids with the same ability. Both flights were pretty similar," Kalohn said. "It's more of a league format as opposed to a teaching-type thing, so it gives them a chance to go out and compete for points."
Kalohn noted how quite a few Junior Golf League players go on to play for their high school teams.
After three years of playing the game, Bouck, 15, is planning to try out for the OHS junior varsity golf team.
He has a good short game and usually plays at both Oxford Hills and the Bloomfield Hills Country Club where he works as a caddie.
Bouck is considering a career in golf management. He said he enjoys "everything" about the sport, especially when the weather is as "perfect" as it was Friday.
Beatty, 10, has been golfing since he was 3 years old. His father, Abe, recalled him using a little set of Snoopy golf clubs on a par-3 course in Myrtle Beach.
"He was hooked from then on," Abe said. "He's a great golfer. He just has a natural hand-eye coordination."
"I like hitting the ball," Beatty said. "It's just a good time for me."
Beatty has his sights set on someday becoming a professional golfer. His favorite pros are Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
Not only did Beatty earn a nice trophy Friday, he also shot his best game. His gross score was 45, but when his 12 handicap is deducted, he shot a 33.
"That's three under par – way to go! That's awesome," Abe told his son. "I knew he was good, but I never knew he'd get this good."
The best thing about golf, according to Abe, is it's a sport that he and his son can play together "forever" because age and size don't really matter.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.