Elmsford, N.Y. – A gray, cold and rainy morning did not stop junior golfers from coming out to Knollwood Country Club to compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier on July 24. Knollwood’s Head PGA Professional, Bobby Miller, was disappointed in the weather, but the response he saw from the kids proved to be a bright spot.
“I give the kids a lot of credit. They’re out here in the rain and I feel sorry for everybody because sometimes this weather doesn’t bring out the best in people,” said Bobby Miller.
Miller’s staff was dedicated to making the day a success despite the wind and rain and came armed with squeegees and siphons to clear off the green.
The girls in four different divisions from ages 7-15 had to fight through the cold rain, but still left with smiles, ribbons and new friends. Quinn McCarthy of New Jersey was to eager to learn her way around a golf course and found that Drive, Chip and Putt can show her how to get to the next step.
“I came today because I really wanted to play Drive, Chip and Putt,” Quinn said, last year being the last time she participated.
Quinn’s father added, “We never had anything quite like this when I was younger. We had some junior golf, but this is fantastic. I mean nothing at this level, and this professionally run… for such a young kid it’s unbelievable.”
Even with the weather setbacks in the morning, Quinn still earned a high enough score to place second overall for the Girls 7-9 division and advance to the subegional qualifier at Bethpage State Park Golf Course on August 17.
Though the rain was a difficult part of the day, we also had many families who had competition between siblings which sometimes has the potential to rain on one-another’s parades, but not within the Phipps family.
“It’s a great venue, particularly golf and Drive Chip and Putt, where they realize they aren’t only competing against others, but each other and they still have to show sportsmanship and be kind and celebrate when they may not have done as well and their siblings have done better,” says Tonya Phipps, mother of four junior golfers.
“I think that parents should have their kids do this and participate in Drive, Chip and Putt because it gives them the experience, it boosts their self-confidence. It’s getting out and learning what it takes to play in a competition,” Metropolitan Pro and father of three junior golfers, Scott Klemme said.
His daughter, Kaylie Klemme, attended the event at Knollwood to support her younger brothers, after previously qualifying at the same event last year. “I think it’s a good experience for new players to have because it gets you in the mindset of competition.”
When it comes to competition within the family, the Shaws always make sure to celebrate success. Mother of two junior golfers, Michelle Shaw said, “When we go out to play, if someone gets a 75 or under, we all go out to get ice cream.” Her youngest son Tommy won the overall competition, and Greg was right on his tail.
“I like Drive, Chip and Putt because you can come in first for Chip and Drive but still not win, it’s fun,” Tommy said. His older brother Greg likes that, for himself, the competition is usually within.
“It gives me time away from other people. You’re not competing against others you’re just going against yourself to beat your personal best.”
Whether the juniors who attended the Drive, Chip in Putt local qualifier at Knollwood moved onto to the next phase or not, they all left feeling accomplished and inspired that with a little more practice they will come back next year and take the next step.