Bangor Municipal Golf Course is switching its youth programs this season.
The PGA Sports Academy and the PGA Junior League are replacing the First Tee of Maine program, according to Bangor Muni head pro Rob Jarvis.
“The First Tee is really centered around their nine core values and nine healthy habits and, in some respects, golf is their secondary mission which is certainly very admirable,” said Jarvis. “We’ve decided to go in the direction that golf inherently teaches a lot of those values.
“The kids want to play. They want to compete. They want to have fun. They want to shoot scores and get on the golf course. That’s what the kids and their parents told us. And that’s what Junior League and Sports Academy are going to do,” Jarvis added.
The First Tee program lasted four years at the Bangor Muni.
The Sports Academy and Junior League are available for youngsters ages 7-13.
Jarvis will again offer the Little Putters program for children ages 5-7.
The Sports Academy’s “Player” Level offers beginners 90 minutes of instruction once a week. They can enroll for Mondays, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. from June 19 to Aug. 7, or on Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. from June 21-Aug. 9. The cost is $80.
The Sports Academy’s “Sport” level is for youngsters with some experience and will be held on Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., from June 21-Aug. 9. The fee is $100.
The Junior League program offers youngsters a one-hour practice from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursdays from June 22-Aug. 10 and will also include Sunday matches (5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) from July 9-Aug. 13. The matches will pit two-player teams against one another in a scramble format.
In a scramble, each player hits a shot and whoever hits the better shot, that is the spot from which players hit their next shots. The fee is $150.
Jarvis said he would like to have two, eight-player teams to compete against each other but would take four or more if the interest is there.
Mike Dugas, the golf pro at J.W. Parks Golf Course in Pittsfield, said he is trying to put together a nine-player team (four, two-player units and a sub) from his region and that for $149, youngsters ages 7-13 can also purchase a golf membership for the season.
He said if he can get enough players, he would like to compete against Bangor Muni’s junior team.
Jarvis said he would welcome junior competitors from any golf course but the matches must be played at Bangor Muni.
Jarvis said if youngsters don’t feel ready to play competitive Junior League golf or aren’t interested in it, they would still be well served by the Sports Academy programs.
He said when they form their two-person teams for the Junior League, they likely will pair a more experienced golfer with a less experienced player.
“The less experienced player will have a partner to help them along but they’re still going to hit some good shots that their team will be able to use,” said Jarvis.
The Little Putters program, which is in its third year, will be held on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Youngsters will learn to pitch, chip and putt. That runs from June 29-Aug. 3 and the cost is $50.
Jarvis and assistant pro Brian Johnson will be the instructors for all of the programs along with Staci Creech and Jaime Jarvis, Rob’s wife. Rob Jarvis said there also will be volunteer instructors. He added that former Muni head pro Brian Enman will do some teaching when he is available.
Anyone interested in learning more about these Bangor Muni junior programs can do so on Bangor Muni’s website at bangorgc.com.
Youngsters interesting in the J.W. Parks program can visit the course’s website at jwparksgolf.com or access PGAJLG.com/TeamGolf and click “Find a Team” or “Sign Up.” Then they would have to search by the facility name or by zip code and register for the team of their choice.