Former PGA Tour pro Ray Stewart works with Ryan Combs on his putting stroke

Former PGA Tour pro Ray Stewart works with Ryan Combs on his putting stroke

Ledgeview rejuvenating junior golf program

One of Abbotsford's most iconic and productive youth sports programs is getting a facelift.

One of Abbotsford’s most iconic and productive youth sports programs is getting a facelift.

Over the years, Ledgeview Golf and Country Club has sent forth an incredible procession of elite golfers from its junior ranks to the pros, from former PGA Tour luminary Ray Stewart, to 2005 NCAA champ James Lepp, to current Web.com Tour members Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor.

It’s been a while, though, since the club’s junior program had a great deal of structure. But that’s about the change, with the launch of a new multi-faceted initiative.

“We’ve had pros and we’ve had instruction, but we haven’t had anything formalized since at least 2008,” said Bob Simoes, chair of the Ledgeview junior committee.

“The basic thought is, if we’re producing (great golfers) without much of a junior program . . .¬†what would we do if we had a real formal program?”

Beginning on May 26, Mondays will be junior days at Ledgeview. Starting at 4 p.m. each Monday through Sept. 29, golfers between the ages of 12 and 18 will have access to one hour of instruction followed by a nine-hole competition. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members, and includes a hot dog or hamburger and a pop.

Alumni like Stewart and Lepp will participate as mentors, as will Hadwin and Taylor on occasion as their pro schedules allow. Lepp, a two-time contestant on the Golf Channel reality show Big Break, is involved in the May 26 kick-off event, demonstrating the “glass break” challenge popularized by the TV show.

Additionally, organizers are undertaking several initiatives to make the game more accessible to youth. To begin with, they’ve reduced the cost of a junior membership to $350 plus RCGA fee per year.

A Junior Tee program has also been established to assist kids who would otherwise not be able to afford to play. All junior golf program costs, including a one-year membership, equipment and fees, are covered, and funding is available for six kids. To apply, prospective participants are asked to submit a letter explaining why they are interested in playing golf and a recommendation from a teacher, principal or counselor.

The junior golf program is also supplying bursaries for post-secondary education.

“How do we know that the next Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam isn’t sitting in Abbotsford somewhere, but through financial circumstances through no fault of his or her own, can’t play golf?” Simoes explained. “We want to give back to the community.

“This club is open to everyone, and we want everyone to enjoy this club.”

For more information, call Ledgeview operations manager Chris Graham at the course (604-859-8993) or email cgraham@ledgeviewgolf.com.