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Rob Potter | Democrat

Lochmor Golf Course Professional Mike Decker, right, shows four boys how to putt the ball on Tuesday afternoon during the Sullivan County YMCA Golf Academy. The boys are, from left to right, Alex Poitras, Aaidan Rausch, Jack Rein and Elijah Rausch.

YMCA Golf Academy is a hit

By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY — May 14, 2010 — Thanks to the Sullivan County YMCA and Lochmor Golf Course, several local youngsters are learning about the game of golf.
The Sullivan County YMCA Golf Academy recently began at Lochmor, an 18-hole course in South Fallsburg. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, five boys ages 5 to 9 learn about golf from Lochmor Golf Course Professional Mike Decker. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, a total of 10 youngsters ages 10 to 13 receive instruction from Decker.
Sullivan County YMCA Associate Program Director Ross Miceli noted that Decker approached the YMCA earlier this year about creating the program. Decker has been a member of both the Middletown YMCA and Sullivan County YMCA since January. In addition, his family uses YMCA of Nana’s House, a daycare and preschool in Rock Hill.
“This is a great program,” Miceli said. “For $40, these kids are getting lessons from a golf professional. It’s just awesome.
“Mike Decker and everyone at Lochmor Golf Course deserve the credit for this program,” Miceli added. “They are the ones who are making it happen.”
Miceli said that he plans to hold the golf academy again. His goal is to offer the academy every year in the spring and fall.
The five members of the Tuesday YMCA Golf Academy class are Christopher Pitula, Alex Poitras, Aaidan Rausch, Elijah Rausch and Jack Rein. On Tuesday afternoon, they joined Decker on the putting green.
“Last time, we chipped onto the green,” Decker said. “Today, we’re are going to work on chipping again, then putting, then chipping and putting and finally pitching and putting.”
Decker carefully showed the young boys how to line up putts and keep their feet properly aligned before putting the ball.
The boys smiled as they chipped and putted the golf balls and then happily ran after the balls which eluded the hole.
While it was clear that the boys were enjoying the academy, their parents were enjoying it as well.
Anne Rausch of Monticello, mother of 5-year-old Aaidan Rausch and 7-year-old Elijah Rausch, smiled as she watched her sons work on their chipping and putting skills.
“They really like it,” she said of the golf academy. “They have been holding golf clubs since they could stand up. I’m happy this academy is offered here. It gives these kids a chance to get better.”
Anne Rausch noted that her sons are part of a family golf tradition. Her husband, Leland Rausch, and his father, Tom Rausch, both play in the Tuesday Night League at Lochmor Golf Course.
Jack Rein’s father, Anthony Rein, also plays in the Tuesday Night League at Lochmor.

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