By Walker Posey
The golf course at Thanksgiving Point held its second annual junior golf clinic this week, playing host to 75 junior golfers between the ages of 6 and 16.
“It really promotes the game of golf,” said Mark Whetzel, the head golf professional at Thanksgiving Point. “The whole purpose is to get the kids into golf so that we can teach them the traditions of the game and hopefully see them on tour someday.”
The clinic not only taught swing fundamentals but also encouraged the youth to learn about the game.
“First we teach them to understand etiquette and to respect the game,” said Joe Ruggiero, assistant golf professional at Thanksgiving Point.
“Second we teach them fundamentals that they can use the rest of their lives. I want them to learn but I also want them to have a good time. Most of all I want them to want to come back.”
Whetzel and his teaching staff, Ruggiero, Nick Hoggan, Mike Bechtol and Cory Clegg, taught the five-day clinic.
Whetzel, a class A member of the Professional Golf Association of America, has been the head professional at Thanksgiving Point for two years.
Whetzel worked as the assistant professional for the first and second seasons of operation at Thanksgiving Point before taking his current position.
Ruggiero, a class A member of the PGA since 1989, came to Thanksgiving Point this year, after a nine-year stint as the head golf professional at the University of Utah Golf Course.
Hoggan, a PGA apprentice, and Bechtol have both worked at the course since the inaugural season and bring a combined total of four years teaching experience to the shop.
Clegg also assisted in the clinic and has been on staff at Thanksgiving Point for two years.
The clinic was rewarding for players and teachers alike.
“It’s rewarding to see an application you’ve taught them and see them apply it to their game,” Bechtol said.
“The number one thing is for everyone to have fun,” Clegg said.
The teaching staff at Thanksgiving Point provides instruction to players of all ages and levels.
The on-site practice facility was enlarged this year to include target greens, practice bunkers and an additional putting surface.
Whetzel and staff offer lessons by appointment Monday through Saturday and will be holding another five-day junior clinic beginning July 31.