JDC 2019: Kids take the course for youth day

John Deere Classic

'I went to one... and I'll never forget it,' Pro golfer says junior clinics leave a mark

Kids hit the course at the John Deere Classic today.

Their biggest highlight was a golf clinic in the afternoon that let them get close to the pros.

“Most tournaments really don’t even have a youth clinic, they’re closed Monday and Tuesday of tournament week,” says Sue Rector, JDC player & course services vice chair.

Rector says a day dedicated to the kids is what makes the JDC so unique.

Players Ricky Barnes and Viktor Hovland led demonstrations and answered questions.

“John Deere Classic is special. We have really paid attention to our youth, there’s lots of youth that come in from all different programs,” Rector says.

Barnes says there was a theme to the questions.

“How far can you hit it, how fast can you hit it?” he says.

Barnes says moments like these are important.

“I went to one, I played in a junior tournament and I’ll never forget it. Johnny Miller. We played in the Johnny Miller Classic and he used to do a clinic after the first round every year. I’m 38 now, I probably started going to one when I was 11 and I remember to this day, the shots he hit, the hole he used to do it on,” Barnes says.

Now, he’s giving young golfers like Jollee Steinecke and Barron Swanson motivation to stay in the game.

“I took golf lessons last year, I’m going to take them again sometime soon,” Swanson says.

“Gives me inspiration to achieve my dreams,” Steinecke says.

The best, part, though…

“When they broke the glass,” Swanson says.

It took the two pros a few tries, but they eventually rose to the challenge.

Hoping that something sticks.

“Hopefully a couple kids remember something that we did or broke the glass or did something funny. That’s kind of what you want them to go away with, something with a smile associated with golf,” Barnes says.

“You never know, somebody out there might be on tour someday,” Rector says.

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