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Are you better than a fifth grader? Youth learn the game of golf

Claire Wolanin chats with Greg Kwasek on the green. Photo by Leah Yanuszeski (click for larger version)
August 18, 2010 - By Leah Yanuszeski, Review Intern

He's going for an eagle! Hole in one! Nice shot!

Those are the sounds coming from the golf course at Paint Creek Country Club, along with the occasional 'whack' of a club hitting a ball.

For more than 20, the Paint Creek Country Club Junior Golf Program has succeeded in teaching kids ages seven to 16 the fundamentals of golf. This year more than 80 kids signed up, and every Friday at 7:45 a.m. about 80 percent of the participants show up to tee-off. That's the story from Greg Kwasek, a member of Paint Creek Country Club and an organizer of the Junior Golf Program.

"The program is run just like how a country club golf program is," said Kwasek, "the mission is basically for kids to have an opportunity to play golf, have fun, and learn the game."

Many of the participants have stayed with the program for a number of years. Why do they keep coming back? Chris Dudek put it simply: "'Cause I love this game."

"It gives us a chance to come out," said Claire Wolanin, "It's nice to know who belongs here, I would have never met these people."

Favorites of the summer program include the end-of-season banquet, as well as 'special days' such as Guest Day and the Club Championship, among others.

PGA Member Mike O'Rorke serves as the professional instructor among the group, assisted by Jake Tarzia. "My favorite part is seeing the kids smile, laugh, or just grin ear to ear," said O'Rorke, "you see their faces light up as they hit that great shot that you taught them."

Tarzia echoed similar sentiments, stating "It's all worth it when you see [the kids'] scores drop."

The kids finish up their season in two weeks, after the Club Championship.

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