The Austin Junior Golf Academy, hosted by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and conducted by their Golf Department, is having another successful year of introducing our youth to the game of golf. Several hundred young golfers are having fun on the links in the Junior Golf Academy.
Link here to see these youngsters in action in the Austin Public Links Facebook page. It will be worth you time to see these photos. They are great.
The Academy is held at Hancock Golf Course and the Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer complex. Instruction is provided by the golfing staff at Austin PARD as well as some volunteers from the community.
Billy Clagett, six time winner of the Firecracker Open, former City Champion and winner of just about every title in Austin says that helping with the Junior Golf Academy is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences he has had in golf. He is shown here passing on some of his knowledge about the backswing.
Participants rotate from one station to the next periodically. The staff of the City Golf Department were creative in making the activities fun as well as instructional. For example, one station which required a shot through goal posts to promoted hitting lofted shots while at another station they play baseball using a plastic golf ball and a club for the batter.
Each group of kids were supervised by camp counselers that are hired by the City of Austin. These counselors are mostly from area high schools and they help insure the safety and enjoyment of the participants. They make sure the kids get from one station to the next. A horn blows every 35 minutes and the kids rotate to the next station.
The Academy was originally founded by Joe Balander, Lloyd Morrison and George Hannon who were the head golf professionals at Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer, Lions Municipal and Morris Williams Golf Municipal Golf Courses. The Academy has been continued by the city ever since and through the years thousands of boys and girls who might not have had the opportunity otherwise, have been introduced to the game of golf and benefited by participating in Academy. Beth Cleckler, Steve Hammond, Lloyd Morrison and Kevin Gomillion and all the Austin Golf Staff have been leaders in this effort over the last several years. They have been assisted by other city employees and volunteers.
Participants receive a personalized bag tag with their picture on it, a golf cap, a tee shirt, golf balls, cliff energy bars, golf balls, and a punch card good for four rounds of golf at any municipal golf course in Austin and five large buckets of practice balls. In some cases, scholarships are given to cover the registration fees for participants that need financial assistance. There are normally about 25 scholarships awarded.
The expenses for the Academy were funded by the registration fees and donations from the Hannon Cup Association, which has contributed annually to the Austin Golf Academy for over a decade. Thanks to all who support the Hannon Cup Association. For more information about how you can get involved in that organization, click here.
For kids that don't have clubs, clubs were provided and there was a fitting session to insure they have proper equipment. The Hannon Cup Association donated funds for clubs and these are used by the participants.
The Cliff Energy Bar Corporation donated energy bars to keep the energy levels up and the Achunet Corporation's representative Dave O'Connell donated Titleist Golf Balls for the participants. Many thanks to those folks for their support of the Academy.
Jason Black donated goody bags from his "My little golfers" website at mylittlegolfers.com. If you have young golfers you should check out his website.