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Keller Golf Course After school Program is Taking Off

May 11, 2016

“If you build it, they will come.” This is a saying that Keller Golf Course’s after school program has embraced since coming into fruition this winter.

Matt Just, who works for the Ramsey County Parks & Recreation Department, along with Keller Golf Course Head Golf Professional Mark Foley and Director of Instruction Jon Reigstad partnered with the local middle school, John Glenn Middle School, to create an after school golf program.

John Glenn golf program

“It began this winter when we visited the school and met with the principal, Jill Miklausich,” explained Just. “We told her that we have this golf course a half-mile down the road with funds and resources.”

That was all Principal Miklausich needed to hear from the three golf enthusiasts. With a tight budget for youth programs, the money and resources provided by Keller Golf Course were enough to convince her to move forward with the program.

The middle school is responsible for the sign-ups and after school busing to Keller’s facilities while the Keller staff takes care of the rest—equipment, volunteers and course availability.

The volunteers include teachers, certified First Tee coaches as well as Keller Golf Course staff who oversee the after school program of around 15 juniors this year with the hopes of doubling that number as early as next year.

“We introduce the lesson plan and then get them swinging a club within the first five minutes,” said Just. “It is important to keep them engaged and interacting to peak their interests.”

In addition to teaching the game itself, the lesson plan incorporates a core value or life lesson to teach the kids such as integrity, honesty and sportsmanship. “We let them go out on their own to play and keep score. Afterwards, we preach the importance of keeping your score and being truthful about it,” Just emphasized.Chipping with SNAG

The program has been a large success in just its first year with kids just finally being introduced to the sport.

“It is extremely rewarding because several of these kids had no knowledge of the sport prior,” said Just. “Now, some of these kids are realizing their potential and considering playing high school golf competitively.”

Keller Golf Course has a message to other courses looking to get involved in their community,

“If you build it, they will come.”

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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