|Jaime Sanchez and junior golfers joined Menifee business professionals on opening day of the camp.|
The mayor, Menifee business professionals and local golf professionals gathered at North Golf Course on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the course's second annual Junior Golf Day Camp.
Jaime Sanchez, a course instructor who created the summer camp last year, welcomed Mayor John Denver and representatives of several local businesses that are serving as sponsors of the program. Jim Spooner, general manager of the course, was also on hand to help commemorate the event.
The program is structured in one-week camps that run all summer long for youths 17 and under. Sanchez has taught a junior golfer as young as age 5.
"The demographics of our community have changed," Sanchez said. "This is no longer just a senior community. Something had to be done for the kids. I wanted them to have an opportunity like I was given when I was young.
"Everyone starts off at the same level before we split them up into groups. We make it so interactive, the kids soak it up like sponges. It's great to see some of my original kids from last year coming back. I had three calls at 5:30 this morning with parents wanting to know if they could bring their kids today."
Sanchez and other instructors teach the junior golfers the fundamentals of the game. Besides working on proper grip, posture, ball positioning and such skills as driving the ball, chipping and putting, the youths are taken out on the course. Younger golfers tee off from the 150-yard marker and older youths start from the red or white tees.
The camp runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Cost of the camp is $125 per week or $400 per month, but Sanchez says no child will be turned away because of cost factors.
"Golf is expensive," Sanchez said, "but we want no child left behind. If they can't afford it, I don't care. Bring them on down. We will work with them. We have donated clubs and balls. I also have corporate sponsors to help with the cost."
Many of those sponsors were in attendance on Tuesday. They include:
Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce
|North Course General Manager Jim Spooner addresses the group before the opening of camp.|
In addition, the program receives support from club members, including the Ladies Club of North Golf Course.
As of Tuesday, 45 youths had enrolled in the program. Spots are still available throughout the summer. For more information, call North Golf Course at 951-679-9668 or Sanchez at 951-639-7182.
John Hughes, 17, is returning to the program after participating last year. He said he has improved his score from 100 to 70 on the par-3 and par-4 course.
"It's great to have something to do during the summer," he said. "Most kids sit inside most of the time. This gets us outside and doing something fun."
|From left: Antonio Castillo, Mayor John Denver, Zack Stovall, John Hughes.|