Elsie Cloutier, 6, gets some advice from counselor Valerie Doucette during the Apple Valley Golf Course junior golf program in Lewiston last summer. (Sun Journal file photo)

School’s out, and golf courses across the region are about to start junior golf camps and clinics as to help grow the game.

Oakdale Country Club of Mexico kicks off its junior golf league Tuesday, this year with Dirigo golf coach Butch McKenna running the program for 7-12-year-olds. Unlike other camps, McKenna isn’t a teaching professional, but at Oakdale, the members come together for camps and events at the course.

“Everybody takes a turn at doing something,” McKenna said. “Nobody stepped up this year and so I offered my services. I had a couple of volunteers who said they will help me. We have been doing this probably — I am going to guess, probably eight, nine years now. I just wanted to keep it going so I stepped up.”

He has been a volunteer for the junior league since it started. This spring, he has also been helping teach women who are learning the game.

McKenna said the junior program has 23-24 kids signed up, and that it’s almost an even split of kids returning and new names to the program.


McKenna is an advocate of growing the game.

“Some of these kids that have signed up this year have done it the last two years,” McKenna said. “Even Jacob Gaudin went through it. He had taken the clinic one year or two years, and he went onto (the) high school team. It’s just to get the kids interested, and hoping their parents will get interested in playing, also.”

Gaudin was a senior this past year at Dirigo and finished fourth at the 2017 individual Class C state championships.

McKenna said there will be three or four stations that will be set up, and each station will focus on a different aspect of the game. At the end of each session, the kids will play a few holes. At the end of camp, there will be a nine-hole scramble and a banquet.

The league runs on Tuesdays for five weeks, June 26 through July 24, from 1-3 p.m. The registration fee is $35, and sign-ups can be done in the pro shop or by calling the pro shop at 207-364-3951.

Apple Valley hopes camp continues to grow


Apple Valley will once again hold the Hopkins Golf School Junior Golf Camp, which is run by Apple Valley owner Chad Hopkins. It begins Friday.

Last year, the camp saw anywhere between 75-130 kids per week.

“All of our counselors are another two years educated, the course is in better shape and we have more clubs that were donated,” Hopkins said. “That’s nice for the kids that don’t have golf clubs.”

Hopkins uses some high school kids who play golf for their school as counselors. He believes having the high school kids as assistants will help motivate the students.

“It’s huge, because there’s not a giant age disparity between the juniors that are learning and the juniors that are teaching,” Hopkins said. “They look up to them and go, ‘Wow, three or four more years and maybe I can play like that or be a counselor.’ When the counselors say, ‘I learned through the Hopkins Golf School, it made me who I am now as a golfer,’ then it inspires the kids, as well.”

Hopkins said he has already received more sign-ups than the past two years.


The Hopkins Golf School Junior Golf Camp program runs from 9 a.m. to noon each Friday, from June 29 to Aug. 24, and is available for kids of all school ages.

The cost for the summer is $120, with which the student receives a golf polo. Campers can also pay by week, which is $12.

For every class, the campers are divided into smaller groups based on age and ability. Lessons are given for the first hour, then after a small lunch/snack break, students hit the course to play supervised/coached golf.

To sign up, visit http://applevalleyme.com/junior-golf-clinic-sign.

Other clinics in the area

Martindale’s Wednesday Junior Golf Program begins July 11. This program will run for five weeks on Wednesdays, with two sessions available, from July 11 to Aug. 8. In order to deliver the best professional instruction, space is limited to the first 10 juniors who register for each session.


From 10-11 a.m. will be for ages 7-10, and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. will be for ages 11-14.

The cost of the program is $125 (five weeks). Register by contacting Harry Andrews, PGA Professional, at 352-584-1795, or by emailing hwandrews10@gmail.com.

Spruce Mountain golf team will be hosting a clinic on July 10 from 9-11 a.m.. It will be run by coach Diane Fenlason. Contact Fenlason at dfenlason@rsu73.com, or Sally Boivin at 897-4366 for more information.

Avery Elliot, 6, looks down the fairway after taking her shot at the Apple Valley Golf Course junior golf program in Lewiston last year. (Sun Journal file photo)

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