Photos by Brent Raeth | CatchMark
WHITEHALL – Bill Borgman and Frank Lundell both have fond memories of their days as youth learning the game of golf.
The sport remains a big part of both of their lives.
Based upon the young participants in the 2024 PGA Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier hosted Saturday, June 17 (2023) at White Lake Golf Club, the future looks promising for the game and for those who enjoy it so much.
“I like seeing everybody having fun,” said Talia Josephson, a Chicago resident, who took first place in the Girls 7-9 age group.
For Margaret Dobry of North Muskegon, who placed second in the Girls 7-9 division, the best part about golf is “seeing everybody hit their shots and seeing how far you go and just being cheerful.”
Borgman and Lundell were beaming throughout the Drive, Chip and Putt competition on their home course.
Borgman is PGA professional at White Lake Golf Club as well as head coach for Whitehall High School’s girls and boys golf teams. Lundell is president of White Lake Golf Club.
More than 40 contestants – 27 boys and 16 girls — signed up for the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at White Lake Golf Club. The top two finishers in each age division, for girls and boys, advance to one of 61 sub-regional qualifiers across the country.
After that, it’s on to one of 10 regional qualifiers, followed by the big prize: A spot in the televised 2024 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters.
“If you’ve been watching the U.S. Open this week, there are two players that made it into the U.S. Open that were also contestants and won their age group in this event that we’re hosting today,” Lundell said about the Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier at WLGC.
“It says a lot about this event and the excitement of somebody actually making it to the Masters and then beyond into a professional career of golf like these two people have done.”
The Drive, Chip and Putt event at White Lake Golf Club featured contestants ranging in ages from 7 to 15.
In the competition, each player gets three shots in each of the areas – driving, chipping and putting – with point values assigned to each shot.
While Josephson’s favorite part of the competition was chipping, for Dobry it was putting.
“I just like getting it all around in the different spots and I’ve been practicing it for so long,” she said.
Brady Volkmann, 13, a Mona Shores student who placed fourth in the Boys 14-15 division, enjoys the never-ending pursuit of greatness that a sport like golf offers.
“(He loves) how much time you have to spend to get good at it,” Volkmann said.
Borgman estimates he was 10 years old when he picked up golf. It turned into a career for him.
“My dad took me out first thing in the morning, played 18 holes of golf – every Saturday morning,” he said. “It really means a lot that we get to share this experience.”
Lundell recalls caddying at White Lake Golf Club around the age of 13 or 14 years old. He remembers lugging two bags at once up and down the course. He made maybe $5 a round caddying at WLGC, but he developed a passion for the game and called it a “fabulous” experience. Now, he looks to share that passion with today’s youth.
Lundell is a proponent of programs such as “Youth on the Course” and the “First Tee.” Youth on the Course makes it affordable for any child to play golf and get on at a course like White Lake Golf Club for $5. First Tee is a well-known national program that introduces youth of all backgrounds to the game.
“Junior golf, first of all, it’s growing the game,” said Lundell, who noted that the Drive, Chip and Putt event was the first PGA event hosted by White Lake Golf Club.
“We know of the health benefits – the physical and mental health benefits – of this game and what it does for all ages of people. Enjoying the companionship of friends, meeting new people. I continually meet new people playing the game of golf. It’s just such a healthy activity.”
2024 PGA DRIVE, CHIP AND PUTT RESULTS FROM WHITE LAKE GOLF CLUB
Saturday, June 17, 2023
1. Talia Josephson (Chicago), 57 points
2. Margaret Dorby (North Muskegon), 44
3. Lucille Korndorfer (Norton Shores), 34
4. Evolet Emmons (Wyoming), 31
5. Raegan Bryant (Comstock Park), 30
6. Autumn Bryant (Comstock Park), 27
7. Ava Jados (Muskegon), 23
8. Ellie Jados (Muskegon), 23
1. Harper Braun (Jenison), 38 points
2. Brooklyn Boardway (Muskegon), 32
3. Kenzie Braun (Jenison), 22
4. Emma Braun (Jenison), 11
1. Blake Hurley (Norton Shores), 39 points
1. Riley Shafer (Whitehall), 77 points
2. Madelyn Erndteman (Ludington), 76
3. Isabelle Tawoda (Portage), 72
1. Beau Berry (Grand Haven), 85 points
2. Deacon Sibley (Whitehall), 80
3. Silas Proctor (Grand Haven), 63
4. Callahan Wade (Spring Lake), 52
5. Andrew Riker (Norton Shores), 51
1. Asa Proctor (Grand Haven), 88 points
2. Cooper Tawoda (Portage), 68
3. Brady Searles (Muskegon), 64
4. Caden Pranger (Shelby), 55
5. James Parnacott (Jenison), 53
6. Case Beckstrom (Muskegon), 52
7. Miles Phillips (Grand Haven), 39
1. Alex Annema (Norton Shores), 99 points
2. Daniel Weinle (Cincinnati), 85
3. Jackson Hurley (Norton Shores), 79
4. Waylon Sibley (Whitehall), 75
5. Peter Riker (Norton Shores), 69
6. Jacob Silvestro (Nunica), 61
7. Ian Pranger (Shelby), 42
8. Gavin Woirol (Muskegon), 29
1. JV Sibley (Whitehall), 105 points
2. Cruz Beckstrom (Muskegon), 98
3. Jackson Zeedyk (West Olive), 87
4. Brady Volkmann (Norton Shores), 85
5. James Riker (Norton Shores), 80
6. Henry Seufert (Grand Rapids), 62
7. Bryce Peterson (Grand Rapids), 55
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