Local children who want to learn the proper way to swing a golf club will benefit again this spring from a workshop led by a renowned expert.
The Sticks for Kids clinic has become an annual tradition in Gaston County over the years, fueled by the goal of coaxing more emerging players to give the sport a chance.
It gets some added juice from the consistent involvement of Clemson University men’s golf coach Larry Penley, who is now in his 36th year at the helm of one of the premier college golf programs in the country.
The free hands-on seminar is open to children between the ages of 5 to 16, and it will take place from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 at the Cramer Mountain Club, located at 100 Hidden Pastures Drive in Cramerton. Gaston County Parks and Recreation takes the lead in organizing the gathering each year, and slots for 50 kids are available this year.
Registration will begin March 18, and parents who are interested are urged not to wait too long to reserve a spot.
Boys and girls are typically divided up into three groups, allowing them to rotate through stations as they practice putting, chipping, and hitting balls on the driving range. Participants get a lot of individual attention across the entire two hours.
Penley is a 1977 graduate of North Gaston High School. He was there from the beginning when the first Sticks for Kids event was held at the former Apple Creek Golf Course in Dallas, and then when it moved temporarily to a former driving range off Hickory Grove Road. For the last several years, the Cramer Mountain Club has become the reliable new host.
Penley always brings along the entire Clemson men’s golf team and uses the goodwill session as an entrée to his team’s participation in the Atlantic Coast Conference Golf Tournament, which will take place this year from April 18-20 at the Old North State Club in New London.
“It’s always fun coming home,” Penley said recently of his participation. “If we can spend a couple of hours with some kids and getting them excited about the sport of golf, it’s well worth it.”
To register for Sticks for Kids or ask any other questions about the event, contact Spencer Hall at 704-922-2164.
You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.