LA QUINTA, Calif. - The Coachella Valley always has and always will be a hot spot for golfers. Now one club is hoping to attract a younger crowd to their course. The La Quinta Mountain course has started a programs geared specifically towards kids ages 4-15. The program called "Little Links" gives the young golfers a chance to play a world class course with their parents and with modifications to make it easier. Director of golf Bill Shaw says it's been a long time coming. "I mean you look at other sports, you have baseball, you bring the bases in, they make it shorter," said Shaw. "They have basketball, you bring the hoop down, we really needed to do that to attract more juniors."
In order to facilitate that, the Little Links course takes the front nine of the Mountain course and shortens each hole. The shorter course takes away the intimidation factor and gives junior golfers a better chance to succeed. "Our front nine, which is only 1500 yards, which we created, is only 1500 yards," said Shaw. "Our regular golf course is about 3300 yards, so big, big difference in the two.
The big differences make parents of aspiring golfers like Chris Caballero extremely happy. "To do something like this, to offer, to get younger players into the game, it really helps out," said Caballero.
In addition to shortening the holes, they also gave the course a kids' touch by naming each hole names like 'gum drop,' 'water world,' and 'Bermuda Triangle.'
They also made rule changes to alleviate frustration. The rules are:
-Tee off behind LittleLinks tee markers.
-You may tee the ball up anytime except when on the putting green.
-You may take a free drop out of sand bunkers.
-Ball lost or in water hazard you may drop another ball near that spot (no penalty).
-Please keep up with the group ahead of you.
Another way they're making the game more accessible, it's free. Junior golfers are allowed to play for free as well as accompanying parents. The only thing you'll have to pay for is a cart. It's making a place for everyone in an otherwise expensive sport. "To offer something like this to others who may not be able to afford it, and offer something like this, it's a nice program," said Caballero.
For information on the program, go to www.laquintaresort.com.