The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Jeremy Burnham

Mini-Golfers take over Ritzville Golf Course


Last updated 8/14/2019 at 3:06pm

Journal photos by Jeremy Burnham

Golf instructor Karina Davila (far right) stands with participants of the Ritzville Jr. Golf Camp.

Smiles were big as a group of about 15 young golfers gathered around three professional instructors at the fifth hole green at the Ritzville Golf Course this week.

Youth golfers are sharpening their skills Mondays this August at the Ritzville Youth Golf Camp. Karina Davila leads the group of three instructors from the Indian Canyon Golf Academy in Spokane.

"We just really love teaching kids," Davila said. "We like teaching all ages, but we really have a passion for kids. We want to make sure the kids here in Ritzville get a good experience. So we're trying to teach them golf and hopefully they will carry on and continue to play golf here in Ritzville and bring more business for the golf course."

Davila has a special connection to Ritzville that made her want to hold lessons here.

"My husband is actually from Ritzville and I have a soft spot for Ritzville," Davila said. "I got to know some of the people from the community and they are amazing people. They kept mentioning through the years how amazing it would be to have a kids program over here."

Davila helps PGA member Michelle Grafos with kids camps at the Indian Canyon Golf Course. She said she thought a similar program could be popular here, so she brought the idea to Grafos.

"I just said, 'Hey, it would be amazing if we went to Ritzville and we did the same thing over there,'" Davila said.

So Davila and Grafos reached out to the Ritzville Golf Course. Bruce Benzel of the Ritzville Golf Association said the RGA was very open to the idea.

"The RGA has been wanting to start something for kids for quite some time," Benzel said. "We got it set up and we are very happy with the turnout."

Davila is also pleased with the turnout.

"We've had a really good turn out," Davila said. "We got 16 kids last week [Aug. 5], and we're hoping to have the same every Monday that we run it."

Davila and Grafos are joined in Ritzville by Aubrey Davis.

Davila hopes the camp grows in the future.

"The idea is to have it every year and maybe throughout the whole summer," Davila said. "We would love to have more kids come out in Ritzville. Our ages right now are from about six years old to about 14. So if next year there are more kids interested in joining us, that would be awesome."

PGA member and golf instructor Michelle Grafos demonstrates proper form at the Ritzville Jr. Golf Camp.

Benzel would like to see the program expand into multiple camps.

"Next year we hope that we can get a more diverse group of kids set up so some of the older kids could get lessons," Benzel said. "It's all predicated on how Karina wants to run it, and we're just hoping to get it done. We'd like to start earlier in the summer. There are some kids here who have played a little golf and kind of know what they are doing. We'd like to have them get some lessons too and expand on it."

Benzel says he's excited to be able to share the love of golf with a new generation.

"Hopefully it's something they keep with them for the rest of their lives. It's a lifetime sport," Benzel said. "We have a 92-year-old out here playing almost everyday. As long as you can walk, you can play golf."


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