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Golf: No more excuses, get your child on the course

Brainerd lakes area golf courses are doing all they can to provide opportunities to get your children away from screens. Between offering free golf, free lessons, playing partners and more, it can not be said the lakes area doesn't want to help p...

Staples-Motley's Beck Erholtz takes a swing during a Mid-Minn Conference meet Tuesday, April 30 at Grand View Lodge's The Preserve. Erholtz is a product of numerous junior golf events. Brainerd Dispatch / Steve Kohls
Staples-Motley's Beck Erholtz takes a swing during a Mid-Minn Conference meet Tuesday, April 30 at Grand View Lodge's The Preserve. Erholtz is a product of numerous junior golf events. Brainerd Dispatch / Steve Kohls

Brainerd lakes area golf courses are doing all they can to provide opportunities to get your children away from screens.

Between offering free golf, free lessons, playing partners and more, it can not be said the lakes area doesn't want to help parents provide and outlet from their electronic devices.

Aitkin Community Education in partnership with Cuyuna Rolling Hills and Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge is hoping to match new junior golfers with older, more experienced players. It's part of the Age to Age Grant received from the Northland Foundation.

The league hopes to have experienced players teach the game to area juniors. Registered youth will be partnered with an adult mentor who will drive the cart and teach the game.

According to the community ed website, "This is not a golf instruction or lesson per se, but rather someone explaining the little parts of the game like etiquette, rules, terminology and more. Juniors do need to have some knowledge of the game before going out on the course."

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The program will run from 9 a.m. to Noon from June 17 to July 29. Both adult and youth players need to register online. Adult mentors are free, while junior players will have a $25 fee, which includes cart, green fees and six sessions. Visit the Aitkin Community Education website for more information or to register, https://isd1.ce.eleyo.com .

Whitefish Golf Club north of Pequot Lakes partners with the Pequot Lakes Community Education department. It will start golf lessons at the end of April and it is open to fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

New to the area are Youth on Course facilities.The Minnesota Golf Association is going to run a Youth on the Course program where junior golfers can purchase a Youth on the Course card for $15 from the MGA website. www.mngolf.org/YouthOnCourse . This card allows juniors to play at participating courses for $5.

There are no time restrictions on Ruttger's Alec 9. For Jack's 18 it is after 3 p.m.

There are no time or day restrictions for Madden's Social 9. Juniors can also play Madden's Pine Beach West after noon.

Breezy Point Resort's Traditional course is open anytime Monday-Thursday and after 3 p.m. Sundays. The Reversible 9 at Cragun's Legacy Courses is open anytime. Crosswoods has a number of options. For nine holes the cost is $3 for 18 holes it's $5 and to play the par 3 course it's just $1. The championship course is open everyday after noon. The Par 3 Course is open anytime.

Minnesota National Golf Course in McGregor is offering the deal after 2 p.m. on it's championship course. On it's Par 33 course, play is available all day Monday through Thursday and after 2 p.m. on the weekend.

Northwood Hills is open for Youth on the Course anytime Sunday through Thursday and after noon Friday-Saturday. Play is free on Sundays.

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Grand View Lodge's The Pines and Preserve is offering reduced fee play anytime Monday-Thursday.

Ruttger's also offers College Days, reduced rates for college students on Jack's 18 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. College ID is required, but the green fee includes cart, range balls and a bottle of water.

With the hiring of new lead teaching professional Bennett Smed, Madden's is all in on junior golf development.

Madden's will offer junior camps for beginners and intermediate golfers aged 4-14. These will be Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Madden's will again be hosting a junior league for players aged seven and older. The seven-week league will have a new format this season. There will be four teams of eighth and will feature a full schedule of matches. The matches will use the PGA Junior League two-person scramble Ryder Cup format. Team's will be divided evenly by skill level.

For those juniors looking for even more competition, Madden's is offering four end-of-month events. The first is the annual Parent/child tournament May 25. On June 24, there will be a three-person junior scramble. Madden's will host a two-day junior invitational July 29-30.

The East Gull Lake resort will close the season with a Junior Club Championship that will be open to any youth golfer. That will be Aug. 26-27.

Cragun's junior league and junior camps will all begin in June. Cragun's has camps for beginners using the SNAG golf equipment as well as developmental I and II and the Future Stars.

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Cragun's will be a host site for the Drive, Chip and Putt qualifying June 17, which crowned its champion the weekend before The Masters at Augusta National in Georgia.

Chris Foley Golf Schools located at Cragun's is also teaming with Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge and Cuyuna Rolling Hills through the Crosby-Ironton and Aitkin Community Education departments.

"That's a monthly program," Ruttger's PGA professional Dave Sadlowsky said. "Kids can sign up by the month-June, July or August. That's just kind of a continuation of when we introduced kids to the game the phy-ed classes we did this winter and hopefully they come out this summer and start playing."

Cuyuna Rolling Hills is also offering free golf lessons. It's become an annual tradition. From 9-10 a.m. Tuesday mornings starting on June 4 through June 25, juniors can come and receive free golf instruction. There will be three to four instructors working with the juniors on full swing basics, chipping and putting.

"It's been actually a really good turn out," Cuyuna Rolling Hills owner Terry Thompson said. "We had to control the turnout because it was almost getting too big. It's been really good and we'll continue that. We don't have any junior events, but the program that we do is really strong."

The program is open to any junior between the ages of 6 and 17.

And no one said new golfers can't be adults so Cuyuna Rolling Hills will be offering free adult lessons 3:30-4:30 p.m Wednesday starting on June 5 and running through June 26. This program is designed for beginner to high handicap players. It will focus on all aspects of the game.

Chris Foley Golf Schools along with Cragun's Legacy Courses, Crosswoods Golf Course and Grand View Lodge are teaming together for the Brainerd Area Kids Golf-A-Palooza 2-5 p.m. May 19 at Cragun's Legacy Practice Facility.

"That's kind of like a swap-meet where kids can bring in their old clubs and change them for better fitted clubs for them after they've grown through the winter," Cragun's head PGA professional Tim Johnson said.

Crosswoods junior program are broken out between boys and girls. The boys program is called "Grip it n' Rip it" and the girls it's "Birdies, Fairways and Friends."

"Each week the boys will get something like a poker chip for participating each week, Crosswoods owner Mike Stone said. "It's a five-week program and then the girls will get a bracelet and for each week they participate they'll get a little golf related charm to put on their bracelet."

Emily Greens was the first to introduce free golf for juniors who play with their grandparents. They've expanded that offer to great grandchildren this season. There are also youth clinics offered during the summer.

Related Topics: GOLF
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