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New Bear's Best golf instructor aims for busy year on, off course

SUWANEE - It's going to be a busy year for Steve Mitchell. The new director of instruction at Bear's Best will not only be building the course's instruction program from scratch, he is also constructing a new house near John's Creek, finishing off a move from his 10-year-home in South Carolina and planning his wedding for this May.

"I am just trying to keep everything under control," he said.

Mitchell's expertise may wane in some of those areas, but he certainly is qualified for his job at Bear's Best.

He started work less than a month ago and, aside from giving lessons and teaching clinics, is nearly finished with a rough draft of a brochure outlining all the services he and the five other pros at Bear's Best hope to offer. Early ideas range from private lessons to corporate training packages to half-day instruction to junior, men's and women's summer-long clinics.

For most newbies, the first three weeks of any job are mostly filled with figuring out the phone system, perfecting the commute and finding out the best places to grab lunch.

But this isn't Mitchell's first building project - he did the same thing in his last job at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

"We built it from the ground up - much like we will do here - to appeal to the avid golfer and the beginning golfer alike," Mitchell said.

"We'll custom-do everything here, from the marketing to providing good services that people want. But our best advertising is word of mouth."

Word should spread quickly, after all Bear's Best created Mitchell's position out of a perceived need.

"There was a real demand for a full-time teaching professional here," head course pro Ian Grimwade said. "With 190 range members and all the public play we do here, there was a demand, and it was tough keeping up with five pros on our staff."

Mitchell makes it six, and he will have some great facilities to work with at his new course.

Just driving up to Bear's Best it feels like a private club, and the facilities don't change that perception. The course offers an all-grass, tiered driving range, a chipping green and two putting greens. All that is probably why 190 people pay just for unlimited use of the practice area.

And it's that area Mitchell will work to maximize the use and effectiveness of.

"We are just seeing what projects work and what don't," Mitchell said of the rest of this golf season. "It will be hit or miss the rest of the year and we'll roll out ready to go next year."

Suwanee 8-year-old goes under par

Eight-year-old Kayley Marschke of Suwanee carded a 4-under par 32 to win the girl's 8-year-old division of the U.S. Kids Golf Georgia World Championship Qualifier at Laurel Springs Golf Club and earned a trip to Pinehurst for the Kids Golf World Championships in August.

Other local winners include Duluth's Paula Hong (36) in the girls 9-year-old division, Loganville's Drew Galloway (39) in the boys 6-and-under and Suwanee's Brett Baron (36) in the boys 9-year-old division.

Crowley wins in a playoff

Marc Crowley won on the first hole of a four-way sudden-death playoff to claim the Cedar Lake Golf Association's 18-hole net championship.

Crowley's 63 earned him a berth in the playoff with John Ballantine, Ed Lindsey and K.D. Ingram, but it was Crowley who came away with the Frank Jarvis Trophy.

Graff nets second at Stone Mountain Classic

Lilburn's Kimberly Graff shot 84 and 86 to finish second in the girls division of the Stone Mountain Junior Classic at the Stone Mountain Golf Club.

Gwinnett finishers behind Graff were Kiersten Rom of Lawrenceville (105-102) and Suwanee's Gina Kim (104-110).

The top local finisher on the boys side was Dacula's Murray Flint (77-80), followed by Norcross' Eric Quinn (86-78), Dacula's Tyler Roberts (82-83), Lawrenceville's Taylor Rose (83-85), Lilburn's Ted Moon (89-81), Norcross' Matthew Luckett (91-81), Lilburn's Michael Stolorena (85-88), Norcross' Richard Owen (87-88) and Norcross' Will Delahanty (93-93).

Duluth's McAllister Ball (89-84) was the top Gwinnett finisher in the boys 12-13 division followed by Lilburn's Andrew Stolorena (97-89) and Stone Mountain's Aaron DeSilva (105-99).

Top 10 for Buford's Nam

Jennifer Nam shot 84-76 to finish tied for 10th in the Championship Flight of the Georgia Top 60 Women's Classic at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans.

In Flight 1, Lawrenceville's Darlene Werhnyak (83-81) finished ninth and Buford's Judy Nam (85-91) finished 11th. Ginette Spinucci of Stone Mountain shot 83-80 to finish fourth in Flight 2 and Suwanee's Jean Dawson (88-90) finished seventh in Flight 3.

One-timers

Mary Waterfall used a driver on No. 8 at Northwood Country Club for a hole-in-one. ... It was a 6-iron for Herb Adams from 210 yards out for a hole-in-one on No. 17 at Northwood.

Golfing Gwinnett is a weekly column that highlights golf in the area and welcomes contributions from courses and individuals. To be included in the column, fax information to (770) 339-8081 or e-mail to ben.beitzel@gwinnettdailypost.com.