Eagle Village kids receive golf education preceding Tullymore Classic

AUTOGRAPH: Meg Mallon (left) and Brooke Henderson (right) sign autographs for Eagle Village kids after a golf clinic Tuesday at Tullymore Golf Course. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

AUTOGRAPH: Meg Mallon (left) and Brooke Henderson (right) sign autographs for Eagle Village kids after a golf clinic Tuesday at Tullymore Golf Course. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

STANWOOD — Brooke Henderson, a 17-year-old rising golf star competing at the Tullymore Classic this weekend, began playing the sport at age 3 because she wanted to be like her older sister.

Henderson, a Smith Falls, Ontario native, was one of several golfers to instruct a golf clinic for a group of 21 Eagle Village kids Tuesday at Tullymore Golf Course, preceding the Tullymore Classic, a Symetra Tour event July 3-5.

Henderson hopes she can have a similar influence on the kids like her older sister, Brittany, who also is competing at the Tullymore Classic, had on her.

“It was fun,” Brooke said. “A lot of the kids have not played golf before, so I think it was great to introduce them to the game. I hope they had a lot of fun, because I know everyone who was helping out did.”

The group traveled from Hersey’s Eagle Village foster care center and practiced five components of golf: grip, irons, woods, chipping and putting.

“The key thing was to get them exposure to use their social skills,” said James Giroux, vice chairman of volunteers for the Tullymore Classic, who also is an Eagle Village board member. “There were reactions of all kinds. I told them there were some of the best golfers here in the world in Meg Mallon (Tullymore Classic honorary host) and Brooke. I think they were impressed, so that’s neat.”

Giroux said this is one of Eagle Village’s main trips of the year.

“We try and get them out to certain things,” he said. “We’ve taken some kids to a Tigers and Lions game in the past, but it wasn’t as hands on. This way, they are more involved and there is more interaction.”

Mallon, a four-time LPGA major championship winner, expressed the importance of growing the game.

“It’s important to get kids involved with golf,” she said. “Every adult I talk to when I’m on the road, they all say they wish they learned at a younger age. Just putting a club in the kids’ hands and letting them get a feel for it might tap their interest.”

Mallon said she is excited to compete in the Pro-Am competition on Wednesday.

“I hope I hit good shots,” she said with a smile. “That’s all it comes down to. It sounds like it’s going to be a beautiful day.”

PGA Professional National Championship

Ian Ziska, head golf professional at Katke Golf Course, and Gary Lewandowski, head golf professional at St. Ives Golf Course, did not make the 36-hole cut at the PPNC at Philadelphia Cricket Club. Ziska and Lewandowski each shot 151. They needed to shoot 147 or better to make the cut.

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Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

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