He dreams the big dreams just like other new, young golfers. For Seymour High School sophomore Ben Kleier, that means keeping his drive on the fairway and reaching the green at a consistent clip.
“Most of my dream is just to get under 90 right now,” Kleier will tell you. He picked up golf last summer. “I haven’t played much lately, but it’s getting better.”
Which is why he and about 55 other southwest Missouri high school golfers turned out Monday at Highland Springs Country Club, site of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s annual High School Hole in One Clinic presented by Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper.
Ten golf pros from Springfield-area courses offered tips and instruction in a 90-minute time frame and then tested student-athlete’s knowledge of golf rules with a pop quiz following a Chik-Fil-A and Wendy’s post-game meal.
The afternoon session is exactly what local teens need, said Seymour coach Lori Coutchie.
“It helps a ton,” Coutchie said. “It gives them little things to think about when they are practicing and playing. (The event) is the first thing they ask about at the start of the year – when is then clinic at Highland Springs?”
Brian Maloney, the longtime director of golf at Highland Springs, said the clinic is helpful because, otherwise, it would probably cost $50 for a 90-minute instruction.
He worked with several Seymour golfers, for instance, on a neat practice drill – a tee shot that looks more like a chip shot. Maloney made certain to end his swing belt-high, keep his club’s nub pointed at the flag and his pivot foot high and facing the opposite way of the flag.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Kleier said. “It’s helped me get more power out of my swing. It’s helped me get in the right position.”
Instruction on Monday also aided Marshfield High School’s Chance Totten, a sophomore who has played golf only two years.
“I love to learn new things and see how the work for me,” Totten said, then praised Steve Schumate, an assistant pro at Highland Springs. “This guy’s awesome. I feel so much more fluid in my swing and confident.”