The newly organized junior golf program is being declared an overwhelming success.
Among those who laud the popularity of the links program is Town of Payson Recreation and Sports Coordinator Teddy Pettet.
"We filled it a few days after it opened and could have filled another just like it," he said.
The inaugural program was founded a month ago by local golfers John Pauley and Dave Herbert.
Pauley coached golf at Tempe High School for 25 years and Herbert is a former collegiate player who now works at greens superintendent at PGC. At the inception of the program, the two said it was their intention to expand a summer youth golf offering begun earlier by Payson High School coach Bret Morse.
"We wanted to have it throughout the year, not just the summer," Pauley said. "Our goal is to help kids continue in golf."
With a clear plan of what they wanted to do, Pauley and Herbert approached the parks and recreation department to ask for the town's support.
"We knew if P&R agreed to help, we would not have to worry about things like insurance," Pauley said.
Although the request was issued at almost the last minute, the P&R department agreed to sponsor the program.
When signups began in late August, the classes quickly filled with aspiring golfers eight-to-18-years-of-age. Due to its popularity, a waiting list was begun.
The first session of the new program was held Aug. 28 at Payson Golf Course. The monsoon rains that drenched the Rim country that afternoon weren't enough to keep the eager young golfers at bay.
"Every one of them showed up," Kathy Pauley said. Kathy, John's wife, has agreed to help the program by organizing an upcoming fund raiser.
Sessions will continue to be held 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Thursday until Oct. 16.
The curriculum for beginners includes instruction in grip, posture, alignment and ball position. Also taught are techniques of putting, chipping, pitching and longer shots. Basic etiquette, rules and course management are also being taught.
For those students enrolled in the intermediate class, instruction centers on advanced techniques, game strategy, mental approach, nutrition and exercise.
Pauley defines the beginners as those who have played only a little golf or not at all.
The intermediate players are those who know basic etiquette and rules. To earn a spot in the class, they had to demonstrate moderate proficiency in the fundamentals.
Raffle to raise money
To fund the fledgling program, Kathy Pauley and the two founders have slated a raffle to be held Sept. 18 at Payson golf Course.
Prizes include rounds of golf at topnotch courses around the state and gift certificates donated by local merchants.
Thus far, more than 15 golf courses have donated rounds of play. Among them are The Rim Club, Chaparral Pines, Payson Golf Course, Sedona Golf Resort, Prescott Stone Ridge Canyon, Tempe Rolling Hills, Mesa Superstition Springs, Karsten at ASU and others.
Several local merchants, including Bashas', Country Kitchen, Cucina Paradiso and Macky's Grill, have donated gift certificates. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Call Kathy Pauley at 474-4955 to purchase tickets.