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Eighth-graders prepare for high-school golf

Could a middle-school team be next?

Kenowa Hills — Eighth-grader Lily learned how to play golf on a course alongside her dad and uncle. For the past six years, she practiced, worked on her skills and learned the game. 

With high school on the horizon, Lily said she hopes to play on the girls golf team at Kenowa Hills High School. 

“Golf is a great sport to get outdoors and get away from all the pressures and relax,” she said. “I want to play all four years at high school and then get a good scholarship to college.”

Over the last few Friday afternoons, Lily has joined a group of fellow eighth-graders who walk to the high school to learn more about the sport. The middle-school golf club welcomes students of all genders and abilities to work with high-school coaches.

Middle school life skills teacher Lisa White accompanies the eighth-graders to club meetings. 

“We want to make the sport more accessible to students and encourage more females to join the high school team,” she said. 

White said she enjoys playing golf in her free time with her husband, Brian, who is also the high school’s JV golf coach.

Ed Beickman, the high-school girls and boys varsity golf coach and JV coach White came up with stations for the students to rotate through and practice different skills, including golf and putting simulators. 

Beickman also works with newcomers on how to hold golf clubs and how to differentiate a wedge from a driver from a putter. 

“For those who have never golfed, we want to expose them to the sport,” Beickman said. “For those who have golfed before, it’s about getting better.”

He explained how more experienced eighth-graders can practice self-correcting their form and technique with the simulator. 

“The bigger-picture hope is we want to get a middle-school golf team going,” Beickman said. “We’re in a building phase this year to grow our numbers.” 

If middle-school students are interested in playing golf when they get to high school, Beickman said he encourages them to reach out to him. 

“Golf will test you mentally; I see the girls I coach and it helps with their confidence,” he said. “I’d love parents to know golf is available for our kids, and (that) we develop players.”

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
Students inspired by Barbie, Harry Potter in STEM projects
Ingredients for learning: cooking, collaboration and community

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”

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