Lessons for a Lifetime
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Written by Nadine Mumford
Sugarbush's offerings for junior golfers go beyond the basics of the sport.
When a child learns the game of golf, they learn a multigenerational sport. It’s a game they can play with their friends, parents, and grandparents. Roger King, Sugarbush’s head golf professional, introduced his five-year-old daughter to the game last year. As the youngest kid out there, butterflies on the course distract her, and she talks to her father about things that have nothing to do with pitching, putting, or chipping. Roger smiled at the memories of the two of them taking on Sugarbush’s course, and said, “It’s four or five hours with my daughter, outside and unplugged.”
Roger teaches young new golfers that it’s okay to swing and miss the ball. He is determined to keep golf fun for the younger generation. “We want kids to want to come back,” he said. So he invents versions of kickball involving a Nerf ball and a golf driver. They play games in which the kids try to drive a ball far enough to hit a large target out in front of them, and Roger always makes time for the kids to ride around in the golf carts. Sugarbush’s specialized golf programs draw in children of all ages, and he often pairs older kids with younger ones. He has them teach each other, which also helps break through any age barriers. The kids easily make friends while simultaneously improving their golf game. Meanwhile, Roger applauds their successes—and restores their confidence if they’re edging toward a frustrated meltdown.
At the end of each program, Roger follows up with parents to discuss the skills their child is learning. He encourages parents to let their children show them their new skills, along with what they are excited about.
The value in kids’ golf goes beyond the technicalities of learning a new game, and the goal of the kids’ programs is not to create flawless players. A person’s golf swing will change with their body and their experience as a player. It is the etiquette and sportsmanship golf demands that shape kids as players and, more importantly, as people. Roger is dedicated to teaching kids honesty, integrity, social skills, eye contact, and hand-eye coordination through golf. He said, “It’s more than just golf. It’s activity. It’s conduct. It’s movement. It’s athleticism.” And with Roger, it’s also fun.
Sugarbush Junior Golf Camps
This four-day camp starts with a warm-up, where the kids play soccer, run, and stretch in preparation for a morning of golf. Roger explains and demonstrates the technicalities of a golf swing. Campers work on their full golf swing and their short game in between golf cart rides and silly golf-related games. At the end of each morning session, campers enjoy lunch together in Hogan’s Pub. Kids between six and seventeen are welcome.
Junior Golf Clinics
On select Saturdays throughout the golf season, Roger offers kids (ages six to seventeen) a two-hour golf clinic. Junior golfers will gain course knowledge and learn golf etiquette while playing fun games and strengthening their skills. This is a great time for parents to sneak in a quick nine-hole game, and maybe even a drink at the pub.
Learning to play golf can be a challenging experience, especially for younger kids. SNAG (Starting New At Golf) offers a kid-friendly way to teach new learners the basics. The equipment involves colorful shapes, lines, and fun targets for kids to work with. SNAG takes place in the Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center, allowing golf to be a winter sport, too.
Junior Golf Pass
Junior golfers (ages eleven to eighteen) can enjoy unlimited access to the golf course and range balls for $299 per season. (Children ten and under are free.) This popular pass has been bringing families together for years. Golf as a family activity is growing at Sugarbush, and in the last two years purchases of the Junior Golf Pass have tripled.
For more information about these programs, please call the Sugarbush Resort Golf Club at 802-583-6725.
Young golfers tee up at the driving range.