By Daniel Thompson

Junior Golf wraps up another year of play


Image Courtesy of Wilma Gilliland

Front row: (left to right) Dani Sharples, Parker Deboodt, Mackenzie Miller, Colton Hecht, and Kylie Wenndt. Second row: (left to right) Amber Childers, Trevor Fuss, Johsua Malson, Braxton Miller, Tucker Haas. Back row: (left to right) Rehnee Murdoch, Jacob Wendt, Ethan Sharples, Connor Deboodt, Braylon Miller and Carlee Murdoch.

The Junior Golf program, which runs through the month of June each year at the Four Winds Golf Course, has wrapped up another successful session for the 2014 season.

The program, which has been in existence since at least the 1970s, is split between age groups with preschool through 3rd grade kids being coached by Wilma Gilliland and the 4th grade through high school kids being coached by Kimball's Chad Wise. The aim of the program is to get kids involved with the sport early on, laying a solid foundation of learning techniques and working on the base elements of the game from which they can build on in the future.

Gilliland states that the program started off small with only a few sons and daughters of friends participating at the time. However, after Joel Wiens offered to have the program sponsored by First Tier Bank and the support of the many who have contributed to the program since its inception, the program has increased steadily climbed in its numbers and even enjoyed a few trips.

"We've traveled to the Women's Open Championship play in Kansas, and our juniors met many of the LPGA players. We also attended the LPGA play at the Broadmoor and a USGA amatuer event played in Denver at Cherry Hills CC," Gilliland said.

The USGA has also contributed funds to the program in order for program leaders to include a junior facility at the Four Winds Golf Course.

"My husband volunteered to build the greens. We have two, and it has been put to good use. To my knowledge, it is the only junior area in the western part of the state," Gilliland said.

The program has also received visits from LPGA players in the past with well-known LPGA player Hollis Stacy, who has won several U.S. Women's Open titles as well as several amateur events, coming several to the course several years to enjoy a day with the junior players.

The program is offered in the month of June with program members entitled to play free at the Four Winds Golf Course during that month, and the course offers a reasonable fee for juniors during the rest of the year, Gilliland says.

"We are most proud of our players who have gone on to participate in high school and collegiate gold programs as well as those how have enjoyed playing the game at any level," Gilliland said.

Image Courtesy of Wilma Gilliland

Pictured: The 4th grade through high school age kids that participated in the Junior Golf program at the Four Winds Golf Course. Front row: Ryan Fornstrom, Tayten Zitek, John Bartels, Keara O'Brien, Kaitlyn Van Pelt, Patton Wise, Thomas Muldoon, Chantal Malson, and Wilma Gilliland. Row 2: Jesse Heide, Timothy Mars, Cole Henton, Corey Gardner, and Christan Van Pelt. Row 3: Timothy Mars, Beau Hanks, Ethan Greenwood, Jenna Greenwood (standing). Back row: Isaac Reuter, Mercedes Bartels, Kole bush, Dillon Wise, Spncer Shields, Andrew McCloud, Tristen Zitek and Kaden Adrian.


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