One year ago this month construction began on a golf course designed just for kids. This summer kids ages 8 to 18 can begin playing on a “new” 9-hole course at McMillen Park. The course was designed by Ernie Schrock and is sponsored by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, Mad Anthonys and private organizations. The Golf Learning Center is a new concept for this area featuring shorter holes (nine par-3 holes), flatter greens, carefully sculpted bunkers and natural turf tees. They also have a driving range.
This will be the fifth season for the Lifetime Sports Academy at McMillen Park, corner of Hessen Cassel and Oxford Street. It is a FREE 7-week program, beginning June 10 and continuing to July 26th, designed to teach basic skills in sports like golf, tennis, and swimming. Boys and girls are taught through group lessons Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm.
The Lifetime Sports Academy is supervised by Wayne High School teacher and track coach, Tom Hogan. “In addition to sports training and skill development, the Lifetime Sports Academy program also emphasizes the importance of participation,” states Hogan. During group lessons all equipment is provided.
Ready to teach the kids how to ‘play a round’ are Rick Hemsoth and Dale Blacketer. Rick is a PGA professional and manager of McMillen Park and Shoaff Park Golf Courses, as well as, Concordia High Schools’ Varsity Boys Golf Coach. Rick has also been actively involved with the Fort Wayne Junior and PeeWee Golf Program for 22 years. Dale is also a PGA approved instructor, coach for Concordia High School Varsity Girls Golf. “Golfers must participate in each of the lessons offered and pass a test on skills, such as, putting, chipping, and driving,” golf instructor Blacketer continues, “After passing the golf skills test and golf rules test each child receives free equipment. This includes a set of clubs, a bag, and balls. We hope that they will continue playing the sport after our introduction. We are beginning to see some of these kids playing on our high school teams today.”
So kids, go “fore” it—-golf, tennis, swimming—-these are all sports that you can learn now and enjoy for the rest of your life. For more information about the Lifetime Sports Academy, call the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department at 427-6000. Pickup a flyer at any of the city golf courses, McMillen, Shoaff or Foster, or call the Academy after June 10th at 427-6760.