Hall of Famer Bob Simons and his dedicated band of volunteers oversee the clinic
There were nothing but smiles and laughter this week at Honesdale Golf Club as the 2018 Summer Youth Clinic came to a successful end.
Despite all the nasty weather Wayne County experienced late this spring, the course was is pristine condition to host the event.
“We had a great time,” said Hall of Famer and longtime organizer Bob Simons. “The weather finally cooperated and we had a really good turnout.”
On the Links
This year's edition of the clinic was held each Monday throughout the month of July. It was open to boys and girls ages five through 15.
Campers arrived on the scene early in the morning and received both group and individual instruction.
“We had a very good turnout this year,” Simons said. “Most days we had right around 40 kids. I think it's safe to say they had a good time and hopefully learned some of the fundamentals of golf.”
This Monday was the final session of 2018. It ended with everyone coming together at the ninth green for a cookout and awards ceremony.
Campers were treated to hot dogs, mac & cheese, chips, water and soda. And, judging from all the smiles and ketchup-stained faces, the clinic was a big hit once again.
“A lot of people chipped in to help out,” Bob said. “I want to thank Mike Miller for all his hard work and all the members who stepped up to lend a hand, too.”
The Wayne County Board of Commissioners has supported this clinic for many years and on Monday, two members were on hand to help close things down.
Commissioner Wendell Kay has been a familiar face at HGC's Youth Clinic for a very long time. He was more than happy to share a few thoughts about the importance of kids being outside and active.
“All three of us are strongly committed to clinics like this one,” he said. “As commissioners, we believe that boys and girls can learn all kinds of positive lessons here.
“Personally, I think it's a win all the way around. It's a positive experience for everyone involved … from the kids who are just learning to the members and volunteers who've been doing this for many years.”
Commissioner Adams was quick to agree.
“Golf is a sport that you can play your entire life,” he said. “It's really nice to see boys and girls here playing golf together. It's a level playing field and an experience that teaches all kinds of lessons that carry over into life.”
Both commissioners complimented Bob Simons for his lifelong commitment to youth sports in general and golf in particular.
In fact, Commissioner Adams played for Simons at Wallenpaupack Area and got a taste of golf decades ago at a clinic very similar to this one.
“Bob has been doing this consistently for coming up on 50 years now,” he said. “I attended this camp when I was 12-years-old … that's 44 years ago now … and he's still going strong.”
Commissioner Kay echoed those sentiments.
“Bob Simons is such a great teacher and coach,” he said. “One of the most important thing he teaches here is honesty. Golf is unique in the sports world because players are held to a higher standard.
“Instead of trying to deceive officials or bend the rules, golfers are expected to police their own ranks and even call penalties on themselves.”
Once again, Commissioner Adams was in full agreement with his colleague.
“Honor, integrity and graciousness are things that golf teaches,” he said. “We can all learn lessons here that apply to our everyday lives. And, it's great that these youngsters are being taught that.”
Over & Out
Campers arrived on the scene each Monday at 9 a.m. and were immediately immersed in instruction.
First up was stretching, flexibilities and agilities.
After that, a group lesson was held addressing some of the game's fundamentals.
At about 9:45 a.m., boys and girls broke up into age groups. Each of these small units was led by an adult volunteer as campers tried to put their lessons into active use.
Driving, chipping and putting were the main categories of instruction at this year's clinic.
“I've been doing this for a long time now,” Simons said. “It still does my heart good to see the boys and girls out there having fun and learning a game they can play into their 70s and even 80s.”
Without question, though, the most popular aspect of this year's camp was a mini tournament that allowed campers to get out on the course for a few holes.
“The kids love it,” said Simons with a smile. “They had a lot of fun and I think they learned a lot.”