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Area Golf: Golf event created with youth in mind

Golf-A-Palooza graphic from http://www.mnkidsgolfapalooza.org/brainerd.html

Think a rock concert for golf on a junior friendly scale.

That's how Mike Stone described the inaugural Brainerd lakes area's Golf-A-Palooza, 2-5 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Cragun's Legacy Courses in East Gull Lake.

Stone the owner of Crosswoods Golf Course, teamed with Breezy Point Resort, Cragun's, Grand View Lodge, Madden's Resort and Whitefish Golf Club to present this fun-filled afternoon designed to introduce youths to the game of golf. See http://www.mnkidsgolfapalooza.org/brainerd.html .

"It will be the perfect environment for a first introduction to the game or for people who are fairly new to the game," Stone said. "We're going to have blow up targets on the range. There will be free instruction. There will be music going on."

Stone was introduced to the idea at a Minnesota Golf Association meeting last fall. The concept was created by Dave Torbenson, the PGA golf professional and general manager at Mankato Golf Club. With Torbenson's blessing and support, Stone recruited the help of other area courses to start the area's first youth golf party.

Along with the free instruction, there will be a junior golf club swap and sale. Information will be available for junior golf programs at area courses this summer and there will be free golf on the Par 3 Course for parents and children.

The entire event will take place at the Legacy Practice Facility so those interested can park in the large Legacy parking lot and use the tunnel to walk under the road to the driving range and Par 3 Course.

"If anybody wants to bring clubs that maybe their kids have outgrown and shot for a new set of clubs, that would be a great thing to do," Stone said. "When you resell the clubs, you'll get all the money, minus the 15-percent that stays with the Golf-A-Palooza that will keep this program going in the future."

The target market for the event according to Chris Foley, fellow coordinator of the event, is any new player from ages 6 to 14. Foley isn't sure what type of attendance there will be, but he said an event like this is important to growing the game.

"I've said this before but to grow the game of golf you need affordability, accessibility, people that inspire you to continue with the game, good instruction and the culture needs to be right," Foley said. "The Brainerd lakes area has many places that do have nice accessibility and affordable golf for kids and new players.

"Golf is healthy in Brainerd for the most part at all levels when you look at resort guests and local play. If you compare it to other kids activities and athletics, we as a percentage growth-wise see good numbers. The biggest thing is getting people to the golf course so they can experience golf and if you do that and they have a good experience they'll come back."

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
(218) 855-5856
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