Local professional brings golf to middle school youth
Working to teach local youth the key fundamentals of golf, PGA golf professional Cameron Milton and the Polson Rotary Club created a program that brings the sport to physical education classes at Polson Middle School.
“There are some kids who have never picked up a club,” Milton said. “Going into the school for a day, we get to see about 350 students and introduce them to the basics of this game.”
Not only are students learning the skills, they are also taught that golf takes more than just a good swing. Part of this program works on each students’ cardio, which helps with nervousness during a stressful round of golf, according to Milton.
Eighth grade student Anton Lefthand has found enjoyment in working on all aspects of his golf game.
“My favorite part is the relay races,” Lefthand said. “In golf your heart rate goes up because you get nervous sometimes, and the running helps with that.”
Besides working on their heart rate, Milton would like to see the students learn the sportsmanship of the lifelong sport.
“One goal is to instill some of the aspects that go along with golf. For example: honor, integrity, keeping your own score, and being able to have no referees,” Milton said. “If they learn these, and the skills, they can play this sport forever.”
Milton is also involved in summer youth golf programs, including PGA Junior League, Advanced Golf Club by the Elks, and Free Junior Golf Club.
He is hoping that by connecting with students through the school, there will be a bigger turnout for summer golf.
“Hopefully this will be a feeder system for those programs,” Milton said. “Letting any kid, regardless of socioeconomic background, be at least exposed to golf is the goal. If they happen to like it, then we would like to see them move forward with the summer programs.”
Lefthand, who plays basketball and football, is now considering golf in his future.
“I am probably going to play in the summer and high school,” Lefthand said. “I have always liked golf, but now I know more about it.”
The funding for the indoor friendly equipment came though a grant from the Rotary Club. Milton is hoping in the future that Golf-In-Schools can reach other local schools.
“Ideally, if we got the funding, we could be in Linderman and other schools in the area,” Milton said.
For now, Milton coaches once per week at Polson Middle School.
Bill Owen, golf coach at Polson High School, is glad to see the program introduced at the middle school.
“A lot of these kids never get exposed to golf, and I think this will benefit the high school program immensely,” Owen said. “I want to see these kids take part in a sport that can turn into a lifelong passion.”