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CLARENCE — In more ways than one, Kids Club has helped form North Cedar students into the golfers they are today.
Most of North Cedar’s golfers started in Kids Club, a league for ages 8-14 in Lowden. Kids Club starts the first Monday in June and runs through July.
The young golfers are divided into small groups and coached by volunteers who teach the how to hold the club when driving, chipping and putting.
Junior Madi Cornelius started in Kids Club when she was 11 years old and she now is the No. 1 golfer on the Knights’ team, as well as a volunteer at Kids Club.
Her favorite memory is getting 1st place at the end of the session almost every year. A five-time medalist this spring, Cornelius remembers getting first place at the end of each session during Kids Club.
“She has fine-tuned her all-around skills so she is consistent in every area of her game,” North Cedar Coach Lori Dittmer said.
North Cedar senior Nick Dewell also was in Kids Club, joining when he was 10. His team members at the time were now-graduated Cody Fields and senior Jacob Jensen. Dewell remember beating Fields and Jensen most of the time and how Denise Conrad, an instructor for Kids Club, taught him how to chip and putt correctly to improve his short game.
“My short game is what I think I do well, even if Coach (Todd) Cox disagrees,” Dewell said with a laugh.
This season, Dewell is No. 2 on his team behind senior Tanner Mullan.
Another Kids Club graduate is sophomore Lydia Esbaum, who started at age 14. Family friend Kent Stout told her about Kids Club and Esbaum decided to join. She loved golfing, but the real fun was when she started seeing improvement.
“During Kid’s Golf I remember always having trouble hitting the ball,” she said. “One day while practicing with Blake Sander, she told me I needed to keep my lead arm straight. This helped me in a lot of ways and I always tell myself to keep my arm straight when golfing today.”
It’s the little things Esbaum has taken to heart to improve her golf game.
This year Esbaum has gotten third at almost every meet and although there have been some disappointments, she is determined to medal (first or second place).
“My best meet this year was when I tied with Taylor, a girl from Cascade, for third with a score of 55 at their home meet,” Esbaum said.
Before golf started, Esbaum trained with the girls’ track to stay in shape, but as soon as golf started she was back on the course with her team.
Since Kid’s Club, all of these golfers have improved tremendously.