- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CARTHAGE, Ill. (AP) - Suzan Stott remembers golfing with her mom and grandma.

It was a one-time event.

“I shot a really good drive, then it took me about 20 to get it in the hole. They said never again,” Stott said. “They refused to take me out unless I know how to play.”

Hoping for another round, Stott signed up for “boot camp” offered by the Carthage Golf Club Women’s League.

Tuesday night sessions in April teach some basics, like putting and chipping, and pair new golfers with more seasoned veterans of the nine-hole public course in Carthage.

“We just want to help girls who really want to learn to play golf,” said Laura Carle, a veteran golfer who leads the sessions. “We help them get started. Maybe, in turn, they can help someone else learn to play golf.”

Ruth Kinnamon of Carthage wanted to learn all she could about the game.

“I wanted a little entertainment in my life, and I figured that probably I needed a little instruction before I started my entertainment,” Kinnamon said. With a session on putting, “I learned a lot. I have golfed, but never on a league.”

The golf club may pick up a few new members, but even more important, Carle said, the lessons spur interest in a sport that can be played at any age.

“I’m 79 years old. I still love to play golf,” said Carle, a 14-time club champion who has posted three holes-in-one. “I thought I would ‘pay it forward’ — teach somebody, show them how much fun it can be. We just thought this would be a way for more people to play.”

Last week’s session focused on chipping, with a handful of golfers trying to loft balls onto the putting green.

Lining up a shot, Carle explained the right approach to Stott.

“You’re going to clip the grass right under the ball,” Carle said, then watched Stott swing the club. “That’s the way.”

Carle offered tips and encouragement to the golfers.

“Choke down on your club, Ruth. Try to relax,” Carle said. “Not so hard Suzy. That’s much better.”

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