TRAVERSE CITY — Dozens of kids turned up at Bay Meadows Golf Course Sunday to receive free instruction from a number of golf professionals with local ties.
Adam Schriber, one of the top golf teachers in Michigan and the country, and Randy Hutchison, a current player on the SwingThough.com Tour, were just two looking to help Traverse City-area youth improve its golf game through the event arranged by the Traverse City Junior Golf Association.
“My golf career started playing the TCJGA,” Hutchison said. “Now I am playing professionally, so I have been talking to coach (Bob) Lober and Todd Hursey about trying to put something like this together just to give back...just to help these kids out and make them the best golfers they can be.”
Schriber’s biggest goal for the clinic and the kids was to provide teaching points that focused on training proper physical movement rather than giving large quantities of technical analysis.
Kids had the opportunity to hit off the tee, chip and putt, but also practiced fitness-type principals based in core work and muscle memory to help develop better fundamentals, such as simulating the movement of a golf swing with fitness bands to activate the proper muscles.
“You don’t have to think. It’s not like writing a computer program, it’s a sport,” Schriber said. “You identify where you are off and you train. My biggest thing is there is a way to train in this game. I am a rebel in my industry. (Others) think you should be in front of a mirror practicing positions. I have never seen that effect change the way I want to. If you train properly you can change. You can change movement patterns. That is what we’re talking about, a pattern of movement that takes a second and a half. If you think thought is going to change that, good luck. You can have fun, you can change, you can get better and it doesn’t have to be like calculus.”
Lauren Mawson, a freshman at Traverse City St. Francis, was one of clinic’s attendees and said the chance to work with Hutchison provided her an important boost of confidence with her game.
“My clubs are too short, so I felt very incompetent because I couldn’t hit the ball,” Mawson said. “Now I feel much better after he helped me to hit the ball better and farther.
“I feel when you have confidence, you can do much better. I get very overwhelmed sometimes, and it’s nice to have that confidence to do better in my game, especially in putting.”
Traverse City Junior Golf Association executive director Todd Hursey liked the turnout he saw Sunday, certainly aided by ideal weather, which featured temperatures hovering near 80 degrees, and hopes the clinic can become an annual event to stimulate youth interest in golf.
“We got a nice variety of ages out,” Hursey said. “This was an idea to generate some excitement for Bay Meadows, to generate some excitement for Traverse City Junior Golf and also for Adam to show what he does as a teacher. These guys are great role models. We have such great teachers. To have these guys be available and to show the kids what it’s like to be at the next level is amazing.”
Hutchison, who has traveled across the country thanks to his golf career, said of the youth development programs he has seen, Traverse City’s is as good as any.
“It’s pretty top-notch, really,” Hutchison said. “The junior golf association out here is second to none from what I have seen, and I have traveled a lot of places. I haven’t seen any better junior golf programs than this one. Kudos to coach (and former executive director Bob) Lober. Now Todd Hursey is going to take over, and it’s not going to lose anything.”
Schriber, who wants to continue giving back to the game through children, believes the junior program is great for getting kids into the sport, but does have room for improvement in terms of creating opportunities for kids to play and develop their skills.
“My goal is to work with Todd and all the guys here,” Schriber said. “I have been fortunate to have some kids make it on tour. This is my way of giving back.”
Sunday was a good start in establishing a solid learning opportunity, and Hursey, en route to completing his first year since taking over for as director for Lober, believes the TCJGA is on the right track.
“We have a great staff and there is great momentum going with junior golf in the area, and events like this will be key for us,” Hursey said.