Tim Gaines was impressed with what he saw last Sunday during the first day of the Middle School Golf League.
"I saw some very good ball strikers and some six- seventh-and eighth-graders shot a 34, that's pretty good," Gaines said.
And that was just the first week. Gaines hopes by the end of the season the caliber of play will have improved for beginners and advanced players.
Gaines created the Middle School Golf League as a way to help expand the sport in Gwinnett County and surrounding areas. The league features 12 teams from various middle schools in Gwinnett County and Loganville. The teams feature 10-12 players on the team and eight play each week. Teams play nine-hole golf, allowing first-time players to compete with advanced players.
"There was not a program for beginner type players to compete against an advanced player," Gaines said. "This, for the most part, lets everyone participate. A kid may not be able to drive, but he can chip and putt and help the team."
Players meet with a local pro each week to work on their form and technique. There's a rules and etiquette clinic, a swing clinic, and players have their ability ranked.
"My goal here is to develop youth players and a develop a passion for golf," Gaines said.
Snellville's Summit Chase Country Club, Monroe's Providence Club, Stone Mountain Golf Club and Loganville's Cedar Lake Golf are the host venues for the Middle School Golf League.
"I want to thank them for their willingness to be part of the first season and work with the future of golf because that's what it's really all about," Gaines said.
For more information about the Middle School Golf League, visit www.middleschoolgolf.com or e-mail email@example.com.
Lightning reach title game
The 12U South Gwinnett Lightning competed in the Atlanta Super NIT USSSA tournament in the McDonough on March 19-21 and went 5-1 to reach the championship game. The title game was called in the bottom of the first inning due to weather conditions.
Team members are Dante Blyden, Zach Briscoe, Jacob Britt, Austin Brown, Evan French, Grayson Garulic, Tyler Grant, Brett Higgins, Nicolas Laracuente, Carson McCullers, Nate Seymour and Bryce Shupe. The team is coached by Jeff Britt, Tony Laracuente, Jeff Seymour and Greg Shupe.
Ness wins fifth state title
Chip Ness won his fifth youth state championship by winning the 14-and-under 130-pound weight class.
Ness, who trains at The Wrestling Academy, had one pin and three technical falls in the tournament and finished the season undefeated in Georgia.
To be included in the youth roundup, fax information to 770-339-8081 or e-mail to brandon.brigman@gwinnettdailypost.
com. This feature runs as space permits.