Tommy Snell: Juniors Bring Smiles

When Jim Epting called me a few weeks back and asked if I would conduct a junior clinic at Pascagoula Country Club, I didn't hesitate. Great news!

Four or five juniors would be a joy to teach. I had no idea that over twenty 5-12 year olds would cover the putting green. The Panthers were preparing to take on Hattiesburg nearby, but fairways and greens would grab their attention until kickoff.

Every time several juniors with miniature golf bags show up at the course, I hear the same comment, "It's so nice to see all these juniors out there." Universal. These fairway Munchkins are just too cute, and they have a genuine desire to learn while having fun. Their attention spans might be shorter than their clubs, but their smiles are wider than the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Have you hugged and thanked an elementary teacher lately?

Matt Lachaussee won the primary for Justice Court Judge in District 1, but more important, he's won the hearts of these kids and their parents in Jackson County. He spends hour after hour teaching them the fundamentals of golf and life. He gets my vote!

So much fun. After a few minutes of putting, chipping and driving, I had my longest hitter Tyler Schingle crush a driver for the entire group. Smash! Wow! Oooh! Aaah!

Sounded like a Batman episode. We measured it at 380 yards! My turn for wow, oooh and aaah! My other helper, Bulldog golfer Wyatt Adkison from Hurley, showed them how a fade works just as well as a draw.

With Lachaussee's help, Pascagoula CC has joined Diamondhead, The Bridges and Dogwood Hills in the PGA Junior League.

"We started with two," said Diamondhead's Greg Altese, "and now we have four with the addition of Pascagoula CC. The juniors compete and learn skills that will help them on and off the course.

Ask them a question, and every hand goes up. Ask them who wants to hit a ball, and every hand goes up. Ask them if Jordan Spieth is their favorite golfer, half the hands go up. Ricky Fowler and Rory McIlroy catch the rest. That triumvirate of "nice kids" and these juniors surely make me smile.