EAST GULL LAKE — Fall is the best time to golf in the Brainerd lakes area so why wouldn’t it also be the best time to learn or improve one’s game?
That’s the thinking of Chris Foley, PGA Master professional and owner of Chris Foley Golf Schools at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Foley is starting two new programs this fall that he hopes will introduce new players to the game as well as provide one segment of the population with some exercise.
First on Foley’s list is the Home School Golf program. It’s a six-week program that covers all aspects of the game, from putting to full swing to course strategy. The program is designed to satisfy state and local home school physical education requirements for elementary, middle and high school programs.
“I didn’t realize how many kids are home schooled,” said Foley. “And all those kids need physical education requirements even though they are home schooled and they’re always looking for activities to do, especially things where they can get interaction with other kids, too.”
The program is split into three age brackets. Preschool to third-graders will meet from 2-3 p.m. Mondays starting Sept. 10 and going through Oct. 15.
Fourth through seventh grade will be at the same time on Tuesdays and eighth-graders to seniors will be on Wednesdays.
The cost is $100 per student. No equipment is necessary. Participants can play the Legacy Par 3 Course following each session and can also participate in up to two supervised practice sessions per week.
The other program Foley is starting is after school golf instruction.
The days remain the same for each age group, but the times change. These groups will start after school from 4 to 5 p.m.
For the preschool to third grade group, Foley will be using SNAG Golf equipment.
“The balls are in between the size of a tennis ball and a golf ball,” said Foley. “It looks like a tennis ball so it’s soft with all different colors. The clubs have big club heads and everything is color coordinated and the grips are made so they are really easy to get kids’ hands on the club right. Everything is bright colors and everything has a purpose as far as the grips have dots where you put your hands and it’s very easy for someone with even limited golf knowledge to be able to introduce the game to. There are only two clubs, one’s called a roller, which would be the putter, and the other is a launcher.
“What’s cool with this equipment is you can use them anywhere. You can use it in a park, in a gym or really anywhere because nobody is going to get hurt. The balls are soft.”
The fourth through seventh grade group will focus on skill development for new and advanced players. There will be an emphasis on scoring shots, chipping, pitching and putting as well as the full swing.
For the top age group, instruction will be tailored more toward the beginning and intermediate player and will focus on the full swing and scoring shots.
As with all Foley golf schools golf rules, etiquette will be taught as well.
“With both programs, ideally, I think this will be a great intro program, but for the after school program we have a schedule for the beginners, but we also have one for the kids who have played all summer,” he said. “If they don’t play a fall sport then it’s a way to keep them playing throughout the fall.
“The ultimate goal is just to get kids involved in the game and enjoying the game.”