Theo Center golf instruction

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Since it was created, the Theo Ratliff Center has provided programs for area youth, both in athletics and to give participants constructive ways to channel their creativity.

Recently the center has added to its repertoire of offerings by making available a golf class for children enrolled in its summer program. The class is offered to all children in the program that wish to learn the basics of golf in hopes of being able to eventually get out on the course and play.

Since he is working with a young group that is quite unfamiliar with the game, the group of students is starting from square one. Mitchell said currently the group is primarily focusing on the basics, like form, stance, keeping their heads down, foot placement and swing mechanics.

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Using clubs that are made for children, the group practices the techniques in which they are instructed in the gym of the center, hitting plastic golf balls. The group is currently trying to put all of the techniques they are learning together so they can consistently make contact with the ball.

Young said the program is a way to keep kids out of trouble by giving them something to do, and he also said it allows him to learn the game he has only seen on television, watching Tiger Woods play, and through movies like &8220;Happy Gilmore.&8221;

As Young said, Mitchell joined the program after it had already been started at the center as an instructor, due to his golfing experience.

Mitchell said he has played for the past 10 to 12 years competitively in the state. He said he currently participates in almost all State of Alabama amateur golf events.

Mitchell and his co-instructor have their hands full with their eager pupils, who are learning the game after learning other sports prior. One of the hardest habits from other sports to break comes from the swing style of one sport new golfer, Demetrien Kemp, has already been acquainted with: &8220;I play baseball.&8221;