About 400 attend youth golf program

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About 30 young athletes from Englewood, Littleton, Centennial and other communities gathered at assigned stations June 17 for the first session of this summer’s Hole-N-One Youth Program at the Broken Tee at Englewood Golf Course.

The Hole-N-One program is designed to teach golf fundamentals in five, 0ne-hour group lessons for boys and girls ages 4 through 15. The lessons, taught by course personnel or golf professionals, are tailored to the skills and talent levels of each age group.

This is the program’s 14th year and this year more than 400 young golfers signed up.

Melia Gobble watched her daughters begin their lessons and she said her family has been involved in the program for several years.

“It is a great golf camp to introduce the kids to the fundamentals of the sport,” she said. “My husband and I golf and now, our 8-year-old, Peyden, can go golfing with us.”

She smiles and said Tatem had to try out to get into the program because she is only four years old.

“I like golf,” the four-year-old said. “I like it because it is fun. The thing I like the best is hitting the ball and hitting targets.”

Melia said she has seen her daughter’s golf skills improve, particularly Peyton’s.

“The Hole-N-One program has helped the girls get better at golf,” she said. “The instructors have them work on basics like hitting the ball properly and they practice trying to hit a target with their golf shot. It also helps that they are listening to instruction from someone other than their parents.”

Centennial resident Alex Vahle, 13, went to his lesson station to practice chipping the ball onto the green.

“I like golf and I enjoyed watching the U.S. Open on television,” he said. “My 11-year-old brother is in the program, too. It doesn’t get competitive because he is in the program. Instead, I try to help him learn how to be a better golfer because this is the first year he has been part of the Hole-N-One program.”

He said his dad plays golf and he is looking forward to improving his game so he can play golf with his father.

However, he added his brother and his uncle planned to go to the twilight course later this week. He said he thinks that will be fun.

A short distance away, Englewood 9-year-old Toby Grosso reported to his group lesson.

“This is a great program and that is why our family has been involved in the program for several years,” his mother, Melisa Grosso, said. “We have three children in the program right now and I think Toby is the one who likes the lesson and the sport of golf the best.”

Toby agreed.

“This is my fourth year in Hole-N-One,” he said. “I like golf because you don’t have to do a lot of running. All you have to do is hit a golf ball and then go and find it. I want to get better because I want to play golf with my dad.”

Bob Spada, golf course manager, said the program is popular with the young athletes and with their parents. He said the whole idea is to help young people learn the fundamentals of the game of golf.

“We draw kids from Englewood and Sheridan but we also have kids from Littleton, Centennial plus this year, about 50 of the kids are from Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock,” Spada said. “Some families really like the program. For example, we have families that used to live in Englewood and their son has been in our program for at least nine years. Both he and his younger brother are back this year although the family has moved to Fort Collins.”