By: Nate Dreyer
As the girls golf season is now in full swing, and the girls begin their work on fixing the issues in their swings and lowering their scores. There is another issue that is beginning to plague the sport, and that is decreased participation in youth in the sport as a whole, and especially competitive high school golf. This decline in participation is seen the most in girls golf. From the 2012 to 2013 season the MHSAA reported that participation in girls golf fell to its lowest participation levels in almost 15 years. And, participation dropped more than five percent from the year before. Those stats can also be coupled with 5-straight years of drop in participation in boys golf.
So, the question is, how do we get more young people, especially girls to come back to the game. And, also, how can Hamilton continue to strengthen its own program, and let its players reach their full potential.
Kevin Arnold, PGA Professional golf instructor and Varsity coach for both girls and boys golf, not only has several ideas, but he has also begun several programs to get Hamilton kids more involved in the game. The Junior Golf program at Diamond Springs Golf Course, Hamilton’s home course, has already helped many junior golfers as it offers junior clinics through the school as well as Junior Golf nights every Sunday during the summer at Diamond Springs.
Coach Arnold also believes that these programs can help strengthen current players for Hamilton, because it allows players to get some extra crucial practice during the summer. These programs are important because as Coach Arnold said “Golf is not a sport you can excel in unless you play and practice outside the season”.
While the current numbers may not look good, programs such as these will surely be able to grow the participation in golf here in Hamilton. They will also be good for the girls that begin to participate in golf, as the most athletic scholarships available are in girls golf, and through Hamilton’s golf programs Coach Arnold said that he would “love to fill some of those scholarships with Hamilton players in the future.”
You can find more information on the team, and its Junior Golf programs at its Facebook page, Hamilton Hawkeye Golf.