Cherokee Ranch Golf Camp proves to be popular with local youngsters

Brayden Evans, foreground, works on driving as instructor Dean Brown, background, keeps a watchful eye on him during last Thursday's Cherokee Ranch Youth Golf Camp. Around 25 campers took advantage of the free session last week.

NOTE: Additional photos from Cherokee Ranch Youth Golf Camp can be found in the print edition of today's Progress.


Around 25 local and area youngsters descended up Cherokee Ranch Youth Golf Club in Jacksonville last Thursday afternoon for the second of four schedule golf camp sessions.

As many parents or grandparents looked on, the boys and girls were rotated through three stations on the well-maintain course.

Each stop was staffed with a highly qualified Cherokee Ranch member, who had donated their time at the free clinics to teach some of the basics of a game that they love dearly.

On this particular day Dean Brown was schooling the attendees on driving and Blake Stephens was teaching chipping — campers also learned tips on the art of putting.

The volunteer instructors came equipped with a pocket full of nickles, and every time one of kids would have success, he or she would earn one of the highly coveted coins.

A lot of coins changed hands during the 60-minute session, a sign that the youngsters were applying what they had been taught.

According to Cherokee Ranch member and local golf enthusiast Blake Porter, many of the members of Cherokee Ranch feel that giving back to the youngsters of the community is very important.

“We don't have a true youth golf program here in Jacksonville, so the camps are a start in helping to get young kids to come out to the golf course and to find out what the game is like,” he said. “For some of these kids it's the first time that they have ever held a club.

“Our members who have volunteered to work in the camps take the responsibility serious. We would like as many of these boys and girls as possible to continue playing the game.”

Porter said that Thursday's camp session had seven or eight additional participants from the first camp of the summer held on July 11, and that he considered that to be a positive thing.

Two sessions remain, today and on August 1.

Sessions take place from 6-7 p.m. and are free of charge. Clubs are provided for anyone that needs them.