Thursday, October 28, 2021

Island Country Club Hosts The Next Generation

Photos by Steve Stefanides

Golf has been losing some of the luster that used to surround the game, but those in the know hope to start a resurgence of the popular sport as a concerted effort is being made to attract younger players to its ranks.

Golf has had a pretty good run since its inception in the 15th Century in Scotland, but in the last decade or so it has seen a noticeable decline throughout the nation. However, you can’t tell it from the local perspective on the sport as men and women continue to flock to the Island Country Club to enjoy the newly renovated 18 holes and their dedication to attracting more members.

It was therefore only natural that the club would jump at the opportunity to host a week long seminar for youth to introduce them to the game. “They are the future of the game and we wanted them to have an exposure to it and all the wonderful aspects of it,” said club member Ben Farnsworth.

Although the organization The First Tee of Naples/Collier has been around for several years now, this was the first time that the week long program was ever brought to the club. In all, there were 31 participants, ages 7 to 15, enjoying the opportunity to learn about the sport.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to host this week’s event here at our club,” said Ben Tilley the club’s Head Golf Professional. “These kids are just amazing and the program is fantastic,” continued Tilley.

Derek Clemmensen, who is the Director of Programs for First Tee Naples/Collier was ecstatic with the reception that the program found at the Island County Club. “We couldn’t be happier; the staff and the members have been so gracious to us, and the kids are really enjoying it,” said Clemmensen.

Clemmensen explained that the program not only introduces participants to golf, but helps with their managing of emotions, setting up step-by-step goals, appreciating diversity, understanding the importance of proper golf etiquette, the importance of relationship and how to plan for the future.

The program is supported by a number of local businesses and by a $90 charge for the week’s activities, said Clemmensen.

This summer, besides the Marco location, the program was being held at the Quality Inn Golf Course off 951, Panther Run Golf Club at Ava Maria, Vasari Country Club and a second and final camp at the Quality Inn course. During the year similar seminars are held throughout the county at different courses.

Should you have an interest in volunteering, visit their website at Learn more about the Island Country Club and its various membership opportunities and offerings at

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