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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 7, 2020
Sarah Nicholson remembers her first few times on the golf course.
“It was rough – not my proudest moments,” she said, with a laugh, “but I practised and got better as the years went on.”
The 12-year-old Stratford native has been golfing for a few years and enjoys going to the Fox Meadow Golf Course, a stone’s throw from her family’s home, with her friends. She is one of about 40 girls between the ages of six and 13 taking part in the junior girls group each Tuesday night at the Stratford course.
“The coaches … are excellent,” Nicholson said.
“They give really great pointers. They have definitely made me a better golfer.”
Peyton Pollard, 9, is in her second year in the group.
“It’s really fun,” the Stratford native said. “I can get the balls a lot of farther than I did before.”
Julia Murnaghan, 12, has also witnessed the improvements in her game since taking part in the group, which includes skill-based instruction in smaller groups on things like chipping, putting and swing techniques.
“I used to be really bad at hitting my driver, but now I can hit if far and in the right position.”
She said being able to accomplish a goal is a rewarding experience.
“It’s a nice feeling,” the Stratford native said. “My dad (Paul) … looks at me with a good smile and it feels really nice.”
It is music to the ears of Trevor Giggey and his staff.
He has been at the club for about 15 years. Some years they would have only one junior girl member, but with the town growing and more families moving into the community, the club started the junior girls club four years ago.
Word of mouth quickly spread, and before long they had 40 girls wanting to learn more about the sport.
“It’s been incredibly popular,” said Giggey, Fox Meadow’s head professional and director of golf. “We have about 40 girls every Tuesday all summer, which is awesome.”
It has opened a door for girls to be exposed to golf.
Starting any sport can be intimidating at first, but the program has provided an opportunity to try golf in a comfortable, supportive environment.
It has paid off as some girls are continuing on with the sport. This year, the club has a dozen junior girl members, ranging in age from 11-15. All had previously participated in the girls’ group.
“Once they get over that hump, then they love it,” Giggey said. “Then the more girls that play, the more comfortable other girls will be.”
Of course, during my time at the Stratford course, a fox and its kit made an appearance. pic.twitter.com/9mZlVUBFSf— Guardian Sports (@SportsGuardian) July 9, 2020
Irene MacLean loves seeing the young golfers at the club when she’s out for a round.
“I think it’s awesome. I wish I would have started golf younger. It’s the greatest sport ever. You can play it all your life,” said the Charlottetown resident, who has been golfing for about five years.
“I think getting young kids into golf is really smart. It’s going to preserve the history of the club. It’s great.”
MacLean said she was looking for an activity while preparing for retirement. She decided to try golfing as a way to get some exercise and enjoy the social aspect of the game.
“I said to my buddy Kathy (Manning), who hadn’t golf either, if she’d be interested,” MacLean recalled.
“I’ll tell you we are hooked.”
She said it is important to have a friend to golf with and share the experience.
“I probably wouldn't have continued if I hadn’t had Kathy interested.”