Junior Golf Clinic | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Junior Golf Clinic

Notice a scarcity of children on the playgrounds of the South Shore and Carson City on Sunday? Then blame the Fred & Judy Alexander Memorial Junior Golf Clinic at Silver Oak in Carson City.

The eighth annual one-day clinic put on by the Fred & Judy Alexander Foundation and the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the PGA had everything kids like – pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, toys and free golf lessons – and something parents like even more – it was all free.

“The neat thing about golf is you don’t get in a lot of trouble playing golf,” said Lou Eiguren, formerly the head pro at Edgewood and now the director of golf at Wolf Run in Reno.

The special day for area youth began in 1992 following the death of Judy Alexander’s husband, Fred, at Edgewood Tahoe.

“People were wanting to donate in lieu of flowers for me to apply to some type of charity, and (foundation executive director) Shelly (Godeken-Wright) mentioned junior golf programs,” Judy Alexander said. “We thought we would take that bit of cash and put it into a program for kids. And it’s grown from there.

“The whole thing is just fun, and I get great letters and cards from these kids.”

More than 700 children embraced the free day, which included learning rules and etiquette and receiving instruction on the driving range and on the putting green.

Forty Sierra Nevada Chapter PGA Professionals gave up a day from their regular duties at area golf courses to devote to the future of golf.

“As a PGA professional in the area it’s been great for us because you can’t believe how many relationships with these kids are started here,” Eiguren said. “You give them a helping hand, and soon they’re getting out of the junior program and they are our future customers.”

Children were also treated to a powerful exhibition by Brian Pavlet, the 1993 long driving champion and 1999 world runner-up.

Pavlet not only made life miserable for the driving range ball retrievers but showed what clubhead speed in access of 160 mph can accomplish. The one-time University of Nevada baseball player drove a ball through, not one, but two pieces of plywood during his 30-minute exhibition.

The popularity of the event has allowed Shelly Godeken-Wright, the foundation’s executive director, to mainstream the event in other parts of the country.

Someday, Alexander hopes the foundation can provide junior golfers with even more generosity.

“At some point I’d like it get to the point where we have a facility somewhere for kids, even if it’s a driving range, a putting green or sand traps to work on their games,” she said.

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