June 19, 2019

Program aiming to draw more girls to golf

When it comes to girls playing golf, Hermon Meadow Golf Club teaching pro Thea Davis is willing to try a lot to snag them.

Make that SNAG them.

SNAG is a teaching tool that Davis and Girl Scout volunteer Cathy Willey learned about last year and will put into use for a program for girls ages 7-17 called LPGA/USGA Girls Golf of Greater Bangor.

SNAG utilizes “oversize plastic clubs,” said Davis. “They’re about the weight of an 8-iron. We have different sizes for different ages.”

The snag part comes with the ball and the targets.

“We use small tennis balls,” said Davis. “They’re about the weight of a golf ball. And we hit to Velcro targets.”

For practicing putting, there’s a Velcro disk about 41/2 inches in diameter (slightly larger than a regulation golf hole).

Davis pointed out that the program designers wanted the girls to concentrate on technique and not get caught up in doing with the club what they think they might be expected to do with an 8-iron, for instance. So distance clubs are called “launchers,” and putting-type clubs are called “rollers.”

“I’m excited by what it can mean for young golfers,” said Davis of the program. “It’s specifically designed to get more girls involved in golf.”

The introductory session is 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Hermon Meadow’s driving range. From Route 2 in Hermon, turn onto the Billings Road, drive past the golf club, take a right on Fuller Road, then another right on Putting Green Avenue, and continue past the condos. From Outer Union Street in Bangor, turn left onto the Billings Road in Hermon, left on the Fuller Road, and right on Putting Green Avenue.

“This is our third year of doing it,” said Davis of the program, which draws girls from throughout eastern and central Maine.

“Kids travel from Dexter, Ripley, Ellsworth …,” said Davis. “We had 15 last year.”

The program is made up of 16 mods. One mod may be concerned with putting, another chipping, etc. Saturday’s introductory session is not one of the mods.

“Thursday, May 20, is the first actual mod,” said Davis.

Some days will include more than one mod as the 16 mods will be conducted over 12 sessions.

“Sometimes we might go three hours instead of 11/2,” said Davis. The last four sessions will be on the golf course.

“We’ll try to meet at least two or three times each month,” said Davis.

Saturday’s session is free, but Davis said there is a small fee for the rest of the program.

Each girl will end up with a set of clubs due to a matching grant from the LPGA and the support of a number of golf companies, according to Davis.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” she said.

Aiding Davis will be volunteers including 13-time state women’s champion Martha White, former Paul Bunyan Amateur women’s champ Lori Frost, Karen Feeney, Cheryl Paulson, and others.

“We have some excellent volunteers,” said Davis. “With any program, that’s what makes it work.”

But each volunteer may not be able to make it each week. That’s no problem, according to Davis.

“If I need somebody, I just a grab a parent,” said the constantly upbeat Davis.

Girls interested in preregistering can call Willey, the program site director, at 244-0214.

Sugarloaf opening today

Sugarloaf Golf Club in Carrabassett Valley, which was included by Golf Digest among the 100 Greatest Public Courses in America, will open for the season today.

The club is also offering a couple of early season specials, beginning with the third Tin Mountain Roundup June 6-8. Golfers who bring three canned food items can play for $30, including cart. That’s more than half off the regular price. The food items will be donated to two local food pantries.

In addition, people who play before June 27 will receive a certificate to return for a midweek round for $30 plus cart any time before July 8.

For more information, call 1-800-THE-LOAF or log on to www.sugarloaf.com.

Summer indoor memberships

While most people are trying to play golf outdoors right now, it’s not always possible or enjoyable due to rain or cold or both.

Golf Country at the Airport Mall in Bangor is offering a less expensive way to get in out of the cold and swing a club with indoor golf memberships. A $100 membership, good through Oct. 15, entitles a person to play on their simulators for a $5 green fee. The usual green fee is $21.

Dave Barber can be reached at 990-8170, 1-800-310-8600, or by e-mail at dbarber@bangordailynews.net.

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