Contributed photo                                Morgan Creek Golf Course pro Ray Kwok teaches a group young students proper swing technique during a Grow The Game session earlier this year.

Contributed photo Morgan Creek Golf Course pro Ray Kwok teaches a group young students proper swing technique during a Grow The Game session earlier this year.

Morgan Creek Golf pilot program ‘a big hit’ with South Surrey students

After a successful first year, the Grow The Game program looks to expand to more schools in the future

A new generation of young golfers may soon be on the rise on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

This past winter, Morgan Creek Golf Course partnered with the Surrey School District for a pilot program called Grow The Game, which aimed to introduce young students to the sport.

The program’s final sessions wrapped up earlier this spring, after reaching more than 350 Grade 4 students at five elementary schools – Morgan, Rosemary Heights, Peace Arch, Sunnyside and Semiahmoo Trail.

“This was our first year, so we thought we’d start with just five schools – something do-able – and see how it goes,” said Morgan Creek golf pro Ray Kwok, who led the program.

“It was a big hit. The response was very, very good from both the teachers and the kids… there are other schools in South Surrey that we didn’t get to this year, and they’re requesting it for next time.”

The idea for the program – which sees students learn the fundamentals of golf, including proper swing technique, by hitting tennis balls in the school gym – came about, Kwok said, after Morgan Creek hosted a successful junior golf tournament last year, and wanted to re-invest the money raised into a community program.

Proceeds from the event also helped fund scholarships for local junior golfers, Kwok added.

Next year, Kwok said they’d like to expand the program to include more schools, and students in Grades 3-6.

“We’d like to reach over 1,000 kids,” he said. “We want kids to try golf, so why not bring it to them? We just go out and have a good time, and whack some tennis balls around.”

Each class recieved a one-hour session during the pilot program – enough time to teach the basics, and perhaps whet students’ appetite for the sport as they grow up.

Whether they choose to continue with golf or not, Kwok said the program “also just encourages them to be active, which is really important.”

“We are very fortunate that Morgan Creek has been able to run their… program in a number of our elementary schools this year,” said Sean Juteau, district athletic co-ordinator for Surrey Schools.

“It was great to have our students, many of whom had never tried golf before, be given an opportunity to play a game that so many people enjoy their entire lives… our students had a lot of fun and started to learn some new skills.”

Like last year, funds from this summer’s junior golf tournament at Morgan Creek will help fund the second round of the school program. This year’s event is set for June 26.