Famous golfer Arnold Palmer once said that success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.
Hail Ridge Golf Course manager Josh Black along with Boonville Pirates golf coach Rob VanderLinden and instructor Eric VanderLinden are reaching out to boys and girls ages 5-14 to give them other options besides football or baseball.
The Pirate Ridge Golf Academy will be held every Monday night for kids to come out and learn the game of golf. The cost is $200 for membership, which includes range privileges, new set of youth clubs and collared shirt with the Hail Ridge log.
Black said scholarships are also available. If you have any questions, call Rob VanderLinden or Josh Black at 660-882-2223.
With 11 boys and girls currently signed up for the program, Black said the purpose of the academy it to try and reach out beyond the bounds of just the normal I heard your grandpa played golf and that you have enough money and time to get you into golf.
“We really want to reach out to the kid that maybe is not the best athlete in class or kids that have success to golf whether that be financially or socially,” Black said. “We want to reach beyond the normal scope and really draw some kids in that are going to make golf fun and exciting again. As a secondary thing, some of these kids will have a little tougher time in life so we like golf will prepare people for things like no other sport will.
“Golf forces you to be honest and forces you to tell the truth. We would like golf to do its job and to help some of these kids who aren’t maybe getting the stuff at home that they need to have successful lives. If we get them started at 10, 11 or 12 years old and have them keep their own score and calling themselves on penalties, maybe we can avoid some of the other stuff that they might go through.”
Black said that’s where they want this to go but in order to do that they have to raise funds. He said in order to keep the academy going year to year, they have to have money available so that they can make sure some of these kids get scholarships and can do some fun things.
“Even for the kids who aren’t in scholarship like providing brand new golf clubs, doing shirts for them and doing things that hopefully will entice them and make it cool for them,” Black said. “We are trying to hit that age where we can really get them interested and get them hooked for something that is really good for them. The financial impact from the community is that if we raise $4,000-$5,000 a year and we are able to scholarship 10-15 kids of those 10-15 kids the easiest college scholarship to come up with athletically right now, especially for girls, once you get past rowing, which is No. 1, golf is the second one for girls.”
Black said if enough money is raised every year from now on five kids will get scholarships to school. He said you are talking about hundreds of thousands dollars of impact to the community that they will have to help create just by creating interest in golf.
“It has impact on individual kids lives but it also has impact on the community and that’s where we want to go,” Black said.
VanderLinden said this is the combination of the three putting their heads together and trying to figure out how to get kids involved and give them another option to do that’s out there. “This is a way to get the kids to come out here once a week, twice a week or three times a week,” VanderLinden said. “If they are given the scholarship they are going to work it off. This is not something that is just given to them.”
 To help get the academy off the ground, Hail Ridge is sponsoring a 18 hole, 4 person best shot (three scramble, one player plays own ball each hole) on Monday, July 10th at 3 p.m.
The cost for the tournament is $55 per player, which includes golf, cart, prizes and food. There will also be a 50/50 raffle, auction items and other exciting events. You can send payment with your team names to Hail Ridge Golf at 17511 MO 87, Boonville, Missouri, 65233.