By DANNY P. SMITH
"This is how golf should be taught to beginners."
That statement from late golfer and former U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart has been adopted as a motto by the Starkville Park and Recreation Department and Mississippi State Institute of Golf in its partnership to create a Junior Golf Camp for area youth.
The Junior Golf Camp takes place July 18-21 at J.L. King Park on Long Street and the purpose is to provide youth an opportunity to take up the sport.
Starkville Park and Recreation Director Matthew Rye contacted Tony Luczak of Mississippi State to discuss the possibilities.
"We have always wanted to provide some type of camp for kids that maybe have not participated in certain sports," Rye said. "Tony was all on board partnering with us and wanted to do whatever he could do to help out."
There will be two sessions of the camp each day for boys and girls ages 5-12. The first session lasts from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. and the other from 4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Rye said there has been enough support come in from the community and sponsors that the camp will be offered free of charge to the first 60 participants. There will be 30 participants for each session.
Registration is on a first come first served basis and is being held at the Starkville Sportsplex.
The sponsors include Travis Outlaw of the New Jersey Nets, Cubby Harris Painting, Phi Beta Sigma, Starkville Masons, Army Navy Pawn Store, Snap Fitness, Clover Street Project, Dan Camp, Brickfire Project, Video Magic and Frank Nichols.
"This will be great for kids who have never been able to participate in golf," Rye said. "Tony and his staff do a great job of teaching first timers the game of golf."
Luczak said the children will be introduced to the game in such a way that it will be easy and fun for them at the same time.
"It's great because all of the equipment is designed to make it easy to learn," Luczak said. "There are velcro targets so the ball sticks to the target. It's fun for the kids and they have a blast with it.
"It's fun for the community and gives kids that may not have access to golf, the opportunity to learn a skill and learn a game."
For more information, call 662-323-2294.
MSU hosting Nike Camp
Luczak has been busy this week running the Nike Junior Overnight Golf Camp at Mississippi State Golf Course.
This is the fourth consecutive year that U.S. Sports Camps has offered the camp at MSU.
"We've got kids from around the Southeast region here from Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee," Luczak said. "They come down for some advanced training."
Campers arrived on Sunday and have been housed in two-person rooms on campus. The Extended Day program runs form 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The Day Camp runs form 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The camp, will finishes at noon Thursday, is highlighted by small group instruction with low student/teacher ratio from national recognized PGA/LPGA professionals and college coaches, daily course play (9-18 holes) with staff focusing on course management, shot selection, strategy, rules and etiquette, and specific teaching programs for all ages and abilities.
Luczak to caddie for Taylor
Chase Taylor of New Hope High School qualified for the U.S. Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship last week and Luczak will be his caddie during the event in July.
The U.S. Golf Association Junior Amateur is a well-respected event and was won by Tiger Woods won three consecutive times.
"This is probably the largest junior golf tournament in the country," Luczak said.