Junior golf foundation inspiring youngsters

When you plant a seed the expectation is for something to grow out of the effort you as a gardener put into it. More often than not you are rewarded for the sweat and toil with some brilliant flowers.

The seed for the Junior Golf Foundation of Gull Lake was planted some seven years ago and the blooms keep coming year after year.

More than $25,000 in educational endowments have been dished out through the Foundation to help further the careers of young golfers from the beautiful par three course on the west side of the lake.

Red Deer’s Darryl Seefried has three children in the junior ranks there and he said signing onto be a part of the action was an easy choice. “I just felt I could help out the kids because it’s going to help out the kids later in life,” explained the first year foundation board member.

There are 73 juniors hitting the links through the golf season at Gull Lake and the Foundation members don’t discriminate when it comes to signing over a cheque.

Former junior player Brandon Regnier used his Foundation money to pursue a career in golf and is currently employed as a professional in Whitecourt but not everyone heads down the same path and that’s the beauty of combining sport with education.

“I’m thinking maybe like an ultrasound technician or something in the science field because I love science,” said 13-year-old Abbey Seefried, one of the 73 who would like to be able to pursue their goals with the Foundations help.

“You have the junior program to teach them (about golf) but the foundation to set them in their career goals,” said Darryl.

In order for this to work as well as it has the golf community in Gull Lake had to get behind the program and they have done so in great numbers.

In addition, Eamon and Carla McCann, who manage the course, treat the juniors with respect and ensure they don’t get shortchanged on their golf, said Darryl.

“Eamon and Carla let them golf anytime of the week. He’ll let four little juniors head out by themselves if they have a captain with them to watch out.”

Abbey said the junior program has another benefit she and her siblings really enjoy.

“Me and my brothers have made so many friends here and everyone keeps coming back and then you make new friends and the ones that are too old go away and you make new friends.”

The money raising efforts continue all year round and this weekend the course will host a pro-am event featuring several professionals including the aforementioned Brandon Regnier, Red Deer’s Adrienne White, Laura Witvoet from Wolf Creek, Shelby Chrest who was on the popular Big Break reality golf show and former Lacombe resident Stuart Hendley who is now living in Texas.

There will be a clinic Friday night with the nine pros followed by a live auction and then starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday the pros hit the course with their amateur partners for an 18 hole challenge to get some bragging rights. You can also bid on several silent auction items until late Saturday.

With all this hard work going on it is no wonder there is a bumper crop of good young golfers learning the game along with furthering their education each year and it is all for the kids, said Darryl.

“The course is really for the juniors and we adults get to play along with them,” he chuckled.