When Southern Dunes cracked the Top 100 golf courses in the state last year by Golf Magazine, General Manger Brady Wilson stated “I want to see a kid from Ak-Chin get a college scholarship because they learned the game of golf here at Southern Dunes”. Beginning earlier this year, it appears that Brady has kept his promise and has been building the game of golf with the Ak-Chin Community’s youth.
Ak-Chin Jr Golf is a club that meets Saturday and Wednesday of each week and helps teach the game of golf to those willing to learn how to play a new and competitive sport. Ben Meidl, Teaching Professional for Southern Dunes, encourages all skill levels to come play golf while also learning the basics. “We like to see kids from all skill levels come out, seeing them laughing while learning how to play golf is great to see” he says.
On Saturdays, Ben meets the kid golfers and briefly goes over the basics of golf, such as swinging, proper swing stance as well as explaining the differences between a 9-iron and a putter. Ben also has the kids play tic-tac-toe golf, which is exactly what it sounds like. “It’s a mini game that helps them practice their aim, and its fun too because its tic-tac-toe” says Ben.
During the fun-filled Saturday morning meet ups, Ben also goes over classwork in a handbook that he creates himself before each session. Questions such as “Today’s reason golf is fun”, “My idea of a good shot” and “Number of goof shots I hit today” are just some of the topics covered with Ben. He also provides the kids with opportunities to speak as they complete their questions in their handbook.
Once the handbooks are completed for the week, the kids then learn the basics of how to putt on the green. The kids are introduced to the basics of putting as well as learning that concentration and focus are key when trying to birdie or make par.
When Wednesday comes around, Ben has the golfers implement what they’ve learned on the previous Saturday and has them walk a 6-hole mini course on #miniDunes. On Wednesday, no tic-tac-toe golf is played. Instead, Ben introduces various games that serve as guides to teach swing etiquette and aiming, such as the “Ribbon Game”. The Ribbon game is a game in which kids have to chip the golf ball within the designated ribbon area. Each golfers gets a 6 golf balls each and as a a team, they have to get 5 within the ribbon, getting it in the hole is an added bonus.
In addition to proper technique, form and aim, Ben also introduces another element that can go otherwise unlooked at times, taking care of the golf course. On hole 5, Ben gave the kids 5 golf balls a piece and had them get their ball out of one of the bunkers. After the golf balls were no longer in the bunker, Ben had the kids jump into the bunker and “dirty” it up because after they were finished, they were all given rakes to help evenly distribute the sand to make it presentable for the next golfer. “We do this to help make sure the course looks good for the people after us” said Ben.
Another game that got the kids enjoyment at an all-time high was when Ben jumped into a Velcro suit and had the kids swing multicolored tennis balls at him to see if they could get them to stick to him in his suit. “We do this to help their aim, also the kids really love it” he says.
Currently, Brady Wilson and Ben Meidl still have available seats open to join the Ak-Chin Jr Golf Club. If you would like more information on how to join, please contact Brady Wilson at (480) 367-8949 to get more information on how to join and experience the fun.