By Rob Kiser
Echo Hills PGA professional Chip Fox recently completed another successful junior camp.
One thing that made it more fun for the kids was the change in format for the second straight year.
Instead of five weeks of instruction and playing the final week, the kids got instruction for three weeks, before breaking up into teams and playing Ryder Cup style matches the final three weeks.
The Ryder Cup matches format were two-person scramble teams.
The matches were up to nine holes and the kids teed off from locations that fit their skill level.
Every three holes, a flag was awarded to the winning team for those three holes. Each player received a bag tag and stickers that they can put on back of the bag tag for every flag they received.
Each player also received a team jersey to wear, with a number.
“I think they were all excited about it,” Fox said. “It is something the PGA wants to do and it introduces them to competition. I think the kids really enjoy it and look forward to it.”
Andy Johnson, Piqua boys golf coach who has helped with the camp after being a participant in the camp growing up, agreed.
“The team aspect makes it fun for everyone,” Johnson said. “The kids don’t have the pressure of being on their own and trying to hit a great shot every time. If a kid hits one good shot on a hole that helps his team win, it really helps their confidence going forward.”
Winning with 45.5 points was the Red team (Austin Schultz, Hunter Alexander, Levi Marcum, Grant Humphrey (overall MVP), Jackson Elliott, Addison Huber, Aiden Campbell, Xander Foster (team MVP), Matthew Gallbreath, Allana Darner, Dean Hampshire, JJ Morgan, Reagan Steiner).
The team was coached by Doug Harter and Tim Johnston.
Finishing second with 38 points was the Blue team (Drake Widney, Kyler Kommer, Zak Uhlenbrock, Noah Lucas, Jacob Miller (co-team MVP), Nicholas Heath, Ryan Penny (co-team MVP), Owen Pleiman, Madison Supinger, Lauren York, Jacob Felts, Abraum Friend, Connor Humprey).
The team was coached by Johnson, Ron Schultz and Andrew Slusher.
Orange team MVP was Aiden Webster and White team MVP was Max King.
Johnson benefitted from the camp as a youngster and enjoys giving back.
“I know I learned a great deal about how to play golf from people like Ralph Haines when I was a kid going through this camp,” Johnson said. “I have been involved in this camp for 18 years, seven as a camper and 11 years as an instructor.”
And in the end, all the participants were winners — along with the future of junior golf in Piqua.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.