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Golf for the Family
by Damian Tromerhauser
Jun 13, 2012 | 1442 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photos by John Byrne - Scott Marran, 10, tests out his putting skills as one of the participants of the Sparks Park and Recreation Department's mixed golf lessons at Wildcreek Golf Course Wednesday night.
Tribune photos by John Byrne - Scott Marran, 10, tests out his putting skills as one of the participants of the Sparks Park and Recreation Department's mixed golf lessons at Wildcreek Golf Course Wednesday night.
As the summer months set in, many golf enthusiasts are taking to the local links throughout Sparks and the surrounding area. For some newcomers, the City of Sparks’ mixed child/adult classes at Wildcreek Golf Course are a perfect way to start learning about the game of golf as parents and their children are allowed to learn together.

The six-session class focuses on teaching the amateur golfer new skills and techniques to allow participants to improve their personal game on the course. With a maximum class size of 10, individuals are sure to receive the attention they need to hone their skill set.

“Golf is such a hard game,” Wildcreek Director of Instruction Dennis Oliver said. “You have to have your fundamentals down before you practice, otherwise you get so many bad habits and then it’s hard to fix them. I get so many people that have played golf for 10 years before they take a lesson and they have things so grooved into their swing, it’s very difficult for them to change it. If you get somebody when they’re new, then you can avoid some of the problems that people have.”

Learning the proper form and techniques is one reason many take instruction, but another is the chance to be out with their loved ones.

“They have a fantastic teacher here,” said Dan Marran, who is taking the class with his 10-year-old son Scott. “He has the right attitude. He’s teaching all sorts of ages and he has the skill and the temperament to teach, and the temperament is important in golf. In terms of why we wanted to do it, his grandfather’s a golfer and got him his first set of clubs when he was probably four or five and we never had a chance to go out and play. I own one club and I go to the driving range as usually a form of stress release, so I wanted to learn more so I can go out there and not kill anybody.

“Plus it’s a beautiful course. It’s nice getting out. You’re doing something outdoors. It’s not as competitive as soccer or baseball or anything like that. It’s just a relaxing time. It’s not hot, it’s not cold, it’s just relaxing.”

Marran was not the only parent to enjoy spending time with their child during the golf class.

“I saw that the Sparks Rec department offered it and I looked at private lessons and saw that it was offered at a really decent price and that it was something I could do with my son too,” said Kathy Klonicke, participating with her 12-year-old son Logan. “Before he’s just gone to the driving range with his dad and never had real formal instruction so I thought it would be a good idea for us both to do it together. I’ve never played before. I didn’t like it when I’d go with them and I couldn’t stand it and now after taking some lessons I really enjoy it. It’s fun. My favorite part is doing it with my son. It’s great to be out with him in the environment and being outside with the fresh air and the birds chirping.”

For Oliver, seeing his students enjoying themselves and improving their golf game is what it is all about.

“It makes no difference if they’re three-feet tall or seven-feet tall, anytime you help someone improve then you feel good,” Oliver said. “For me, these classes are so much fun because everybody is like a sponge here. Most people, especially because they are new, they just want all the information they can get.

“I want them to walk away having fun. I want them to have a good attitude out there. If somebody’s played for a long time, then usually they fight you a little with techniques because they have already done it a certain way for so long. Out here it is so much fun though. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s kids or adults. As a teacher, to see anyone improve is a good thing.”
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