Getting into the swing of things
There might not have been a lot of birdies being carded, but there were plenty of smiles on the golf course on Thursday afternoon.
Countryside Golf Club was hosting a Junior League for boys and girls in grades 7-12.
"I wasn't sure how many kids we would get top sign up," said Countryside General Manager Tony Esping. "I was hoping for 10 to 12 teams. But I never expected as many as we did."
The Junior League is based on a 2-person best ball format and will run on Thursdays from now until the end of September. A league tournament will be held on Oct. 1 with prizes given out to the top teams. Teammates can be the same gender, or one boy and one girl. They can also be in the same grade or not.
When Esping and Nolan Boerboom were determining the first day pairings for the league, they were surprised when 30 teams had signed up.
With fall sports, except for cross country, being moved to spring, it left the Minneota student-athletes with little to do. Taking competition away from an athlete is like taking the ice cream out of a banana split.
Some of those signed up have never played golf before, but just wanted to get out with friends and teammates to have some fun."We're not going to beat anyone," said one girl, laughing, to a group of boys practicing on the putting green.
"It's mostly just for fun," one boy responded.
"It sure beats what we have been doing, which is nothing," said another girl.
Many of the Minneota volleyball and football players that had their season put on hold were on hand to join the league.
"This is really great to see," said Esping. "I'm really happy they can have something to do."
As Esping stood on the patio area to explain the rules, including maintaining social distancing and not touching the pin when retrieving their ball out of the cup, one cart after another drove up to listen and soon filled the grass area in front.
As soon as Esping concluded, the players drove their carts off quickly to their respective starting holes, eager to begin playing.
"They sure seem excited to play," said Esping. "I told (Minneota golf coach) Walker (Hennen) that we might find some golfers for him out of this bunch."