Golf and tennis heats up for youngsters
A longtime popular youth competitive program recently involved one of our area’s most established golf clubs while a veteran tennis teacher offered new ways to improve kids’ skills more readily.
Yes, the summer tradition of area youngsters enjoying golf and tennis is as hot as ever!
Expanded youth golf
The Estero Country Club at The Vines, which was first played on as the Vintage Golf & Country Club 30 years ago, hosted 48 boys and 20 girls in an 18-hole tournament in the 42nd annual Southwest Florida Junior Golf Association program on July 11.
Tom Donovan, the club’s assistant golf pro, saluted Mike Chesnover, first assistant pro of the Kensington Golf & Country Club, in Naples, and executive director of the junior golf association.
“His enthusiasm is fantastic,” said Donovan.We’re building our youth program here and having the event here (for the second straight year) helps it.”
The junior golf group has raised more than $200,000 since its inception mainly for scholarships for participants and donations for the Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital Smiling Fore Life program and, new this year, Mission for Hope, which provides footwear for children in Haiti.
The Estero Country Club, which is still offering summer individual adult and family memberships, also hosted two, nine-hole LPGA Girls’ golf tournaments last month and continues conducting summer youth clinics.
It’ll once again host a Patriot Golf Day, benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation on Labor Day, Sept. 5.
The winners in each division were (boys’ 15-18) James Tureskis, championship flight, Josh Mesmer, A flight, and Luke Wallace, B flight; (boys’ 13-14) Tyler Humphrey, championship flight, J.C. Antonmattei, A flight, and Jake Guttery, B flight; Dalton Payne, boys’ 11-12 championship flight; Sydney Shrader, girls’ championship flight; Vivian Guite, girls’ A flight, and Emily Higginbotham, girls’ B flight.
Previous 18-hole junior golf association events this summer have been at Stoneybrook Golf Club, San Carlos Golf Club, The Forest Country Club, Raptor Bay Golf Club and Quail Creek Country Club.
The final tournaments will be at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club, July 27, and Legends Golf & Country Club, Aug. 1.
New tennis techniques
Sibo Kangwa is bringing new, fresh elements to her first season in directing week-long kids’ summer morning sessions at Three Oaks Tennis Center in Barbara Manzo Park in South Fort Myers.
She expanded her already vast knowledge by attending a USTA Train the Trainers early development workshop along with her hubby, Patrick, tennis director at The Club at Rapallo at Coconut Point in Estero, in Daytona in mid-May.
Improving basic agility and advising on ball-striking were two topics provided that she’s integrating into her teaching.
“Some youngsters don’t know the proper way to run including the best use of arms and legs to attain better movement and balance,” she said, adding that the USTA encourages kids to play other sports as well. “Also, we used to say to try to hit the ball at the high point of its bounce. However, this can be difficult for kids to grasp with very low and high bounces, so we’re now getting them to think of it like a strike zone between their hips and shoulders.”
Assisted by Audrey Gillespie and USPTA pro Katie Unsworth, Kangwa’s sessions begin at 9:30 a.m., featuring warm-ups; drills, including rallying, volleying and serving; fun tennis games; a break, and then match play, wrapping up at about 12:30 p.m.
New kids can attend on either a daily or week-long basis during the weeks starting tomorrow and on Aug. 1.
Kangwa, a longtime member of the nonprofit Lee County Community Tennis Association, which oversees the facility, became director of tennis last fall. She also coaches the Canterbury High School girls’ varsity team — earning The News-Press Coach of the Year honor in 2013 — teaches at the Wa-Ke Hatchee Community Center in Fort Myers and serves on the USTA Florida Coaches Commission.
She also ventured to San Diego and Orlando to attend other USTA teaching workshops in the last six months.
Three Oaks also offers after-school programs, private and group lessons, clinics, round-robin play, cardio tennis, facilitates Lee County tennis association events and works with Special Olympics.
Beyond the gates
USTA Florida recently launched the 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway system to track development of youngsters. Visit ustaflorida.com/10upathway.