By Pat Fitzgerald / Greene County Record
Young Golfers Getting Chance to Learn more Than Just a Game
Fifteen-year-old Michaela Dean is going from a golf spectator to getting the chance to immerse herself in the game for three straight days at the Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County. And it’s all because her parents signed her up for the First Tee of the Virginia Blue Ridge’s program at The Highlands Golf Park in Greene County.
“My Dad took me to the driving range one day and I saw a board that said … ‘lessons’ and I thought I’d try it.”
For eight weeks this spring, Dean and several other girls and boys from throughout the area learned not just golf skills — but life skills as well — from Gretchen Scheuermann, who runs The Highland Golf Park and Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf on U.S. 29 just north of Ruckersville.
“It’s a great program for golf skills, but there’s a lot of focus on life skills and core values,” Scheuermann said. “There’s a lot more to the program.”
“It’s a curriculum-based program that’s based on life skills, core values and healthy habits — and then the golf skills,” said Bruce Blair, program director for the First Tee of Virginia Blue Ridge. “It’s seamlessly delivered. …”
Joining Dean at next month’s golf camp will be Kylie Shifflett, a 13-year-old rising eighth-grader at William Monroe Middle School, and Addie Stauter, another 13-year-old who is home-schooled. Recipients of the Virginia State Golfer Association’s Fleming Fund scholarship, the young golfers will learn “lessons for a lifetime” conducted by PGA professional staff of the Wintergreen Golf Academy. The camp is designed to give young golfers the tools to reach their goals and fulfill their potential through hands-on individualized instruction and supervised daily course play, all while having fun and making new friends. The camp, spanning four days and three nights, will include individual and group lessons and play on the Devil’s Knob and Stoney Creek golf courses at Wintergreen Resort. Students will learn and develop skill sets in core areas. This camp is exclusively for the 16 junior girls who have been nominated by First Tee chapters in Virginia and accepted for camp tuition payment by the VSGA Fleming Fund. Only girls already approved through the First Tee sponsorship process may register.
Shifflett’s hoping to improve her putting game. “When I first started [First Tee], I was bad at putting but now I’m better at it,” she said.
“They had a desire to learn and improve,” Scheuermann said. “It’s just really evident in the class we had. They were very respectful and had good sportsmanship and are building their confidence.”
The First Tee program continues over the summer at The Highlands with eight-week 90-minute sessions on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. for boys and girls ages 10-15. That program starts this week. Two separate summer camps for ages 5-9 will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Thursday July 9-12 and July 16-19 also will take place at The Highlands. The cost is $110 and equipment is provided. Scholarships are available. To register, call (434) 987-0165 or visit TheFirstTeeVirginiaBlueRidge.org.