ARISE Annual Golf Clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course

Driving.

Driving.

Chipping.

Chipping.

Putting.

Putting.

One of my favorite times of the year is the ARISE Annual Golf Clinic.  For two fun-filled days September 7 and 8, some good friends and I got to enjoy the great outdoors, practice the fundamentals of the relaxing sport of golf, and then take our skills onto an actual course.  I’ve had tremendous fun at this event for many years, and the 2016 clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course in Oswego, NY, was as spectacular as ever.

On the first day of the clinic, we went over the rules and basic techniques of golf with a golf pro.  There was quite a bit to cover, but our pro stressed three key points to remember about golf.  1. Have fun.  After all, who wants to play a sport but not have a good time?  2. Be safe.  I can personally vouch for this one: in the past, I have accidentally hit someone in the head with a golf ball.  The “victim” survived and we were still friends afterward, thank goodness, but I definitely keep this incident in mind every time I hit the links.  3. Be nice.  In my mind, this is an extension of point 2, as in most cases, courteous players are also ensuring safety for themselves and their fellow players.

After going over the rules, we went outside to practice chipping, putting, and driving on the driving range, aided by our pro and local volunteer golfers.  In my view, all three of these essential skills are fun in their own way.  Using a driver to blast the ball from the starting tee to the far part of the fairway is, to me, one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.  Chipping the ball onto the green feels almost the same to me as driving, just on a smaller scale.  Putting provides me with the most control and finesse over the ball, and maneuvering it into the hole with a few well-placed putts, especially if it results in a birdie or par, is very satisfying.  I can hit the ball fairly well when driving and onto the green with chipping.  But, I think I prefer putting the best; I feel like I have better command over the ball when I’m putting, and moving the ball around the green with a putter requires a lot less overall physical effort on my part than the other two skills entail.  It’s these strokes, easy on my body yet still challenging, that is one of my favorite parts of playing the sport of golf.

Day two was tournament day.  Teams were assembled in the “captain and crew” format with the local volunteer golfers as captains and we played a few holes on the Evergreen Hills course.  This means that the pro, the captain of our team, hit first at each hole, then we hit our balls from where the pro’s shot had landed, then we played off whichever of our shots went the farthest, and so on until we had all completed the hole.  This is my favorite part of the clinic each year, as we get to practice what we’ve learned on some actual holes and we usually pull off some amazing shots.  I heard one player on another team scored a hole-in-one, a very impressive accomplishment indeed!  By comparison, my personal best performance of the day was completing a hole in three strokes, the first being a drive, then I chipped my ball right onto the green, and then made an unbelievable curving putt into the hole.  (I only say “unbelievable” because I almost always miss putts like that, so landing one felt pretty good!)

Following the tournament, we had a “longest drive” competition to see who could hit the ball the farthest, a straight shot down a fairway with no obstructions blocking the path of the balls.  My shot went fairly far, but the winner hit his golf ball a much greater distance than mine.  That drew a big round of applause from the rest of us!

The ARISE and Golf Annual Clinic at Evergreen Hills was another fantastic two days of fun and frolic for all of us.  Participating in the clinic is a real blessing to me because I learn more and more about golf every year I attend, and I want to thank everyone who came out to help us at this year’s event.  I would also like to extend an extra special thanks to ARISE, Inc. and the Evergreen Hills Golf Course for being such great hosts.  It was a blast!

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