story by Stacie Gaetz | photography by Kurtis Kristianson & Britton Ledingham
In October 2019, Collicutt General Manager Lyndon King was awarded Junior Leader of the Year for the Dream Junior Golf Academy.
“It is always nice to be recognized by your peers and the ‘thank yous’ we receive from the parents and smiles from the kids mean more than a trophy,” King said.
We introduce more kids to the game of golf than any golf course in Canada, combined with our kid-friendly atmosphere and our building of three holes just for kids.
The academy has been in operation since 2009 and has grown from 56 children to more than 1,000. The program runs weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays from the end of May until the end of July, with three time slots on each day.
Former professional golfer turned instructor Riley Fleming took part in the academy as a child. He credits the program with introducing him to the game and has been showing his appreciation by teaching with the academy for three years.
“It is the best introduction to the sport that I have seen in all of my years of golf,” the 26-year-old said. “I have been playing high level since I was 14 and have been all around the world and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Fleming was a professional golfer for six years, including four seasons on the Mckenzie Tour, and played in countries around the world. He was selected for the Team Canada Development squad when he was 18 years old. He currently teaches at Lynx Ridge Golf Course.
“Being a kid in Alberta when I grew up, everyone else played hockey,” Fleming said.“Going to this program (now called Dream Junior Golf Academy) really got the ball rolling for me. It’s an absolute must for any kid interested in golf.”
The academy teaches children about stance, posture, stroke, grip and more but King said the most important skill children learn is that golf is fun.
Patrick Murphy, who first started playing golf at Collicutt with his dad when he was five years old, said he also learned the fundamentals from King. Murphy is a past champion of the Alberta Junior Championship, as well the Alberta Match Play Championship. He was also runner-up at the Canadian Junior Boys Championship in 2014, propelling him onto the Canadian National Junior Team.
“This summer, I look forward to playing on the PGA Tour Canada, which includes three events in Alberta and one in Calgary,” he said. “Hopefully when I am in town, I will be able to contribute to the growing excitement surrounding the program and academy.”
In 2018, the club introduced a few Tiered Junior Programs for the kids that have advanced past the introduction program. In 2019, they included day camps held in July and August.