Long-time coach and player Tommy Fincher is a man on a mission as he seeks to introduce the game of golf to youngsters in the Mineral Wells area with Kids Days at the Holiday Hills Country Club golf course.
“There’s one thing that I want you to put in your article,” Fincher said. “This is not a country club! It was in the years past, but it is now a public golf course, and it is open for anyone who wants to play here.”
Holiday Hills is typically closed on Mondays which led to Fincher’s idea from switching from last year’s single week four-day camp format to an every Monday during June and July Kids Day.
The golf course has new ownership, and Bryan Horton has thrown his support behind Fincher’s ideas that have included making the game more affordable to everyone, especially young athletes.
Fincher is playing a pivotal role in introducing the game of golf to the next generation of players in Mineral Wells. Having coached in the Mineral Wells ISD for 17 years, he was responsible for introducing the game to a lot of area players, including the generation before this “next” generation.
While taking the $10 fee and getting an emergency number for his sign-in roster, several former players who are now parents walk up. The love and respect for Fincher are quickly evident as the coach and his former students talk..
Golf isn’t the only thing Fincher taught his players, and he’s making sure his newest group also learns about respect and behavior during the etiquette portion of his instruction.
“We get together to eat, and I teach them about being polite and having manners when they are out eating,” Fincher said. “They learn about not drawing attention to themselves and how to pick up when they are finished.”
Etiquette is prominent in the game of golf, and the lesson Fincher is handing out at snack time translates directly to how golfers are expected to behave on the course when playing. Players are supposed to rake sand traps when they are finished using them and to avoid causing a distraction for other players.
Golf enjoyed a massive surge in the number of people taking up the sport during the start of the Tiger Woods era and for almost a decade after that. Young people were taking up the game in droves and many top golfers on the PGA tour today will tell you they were inspired to play golf by Woods.
Fincher is hoping to see that same level of enthusiasm from youngsters again and his approach to Kids Days follows an approach of making the game fun and getting a player out on the course as soon as possible.
“We switch up things each week and work on a different set of skills,” Fincher said. “I want the kids to have fun out here, and I want them to start playing, walking, and enjoying the golf course.”
Fincher’s son, Hunter, who coaches at Peaster also helps out with the instruction and coaching is often on the fly as they whiz around in golf carts keeping an eye on their charges.
Both men are encouraging coaches who leave a beaming smile on faces after a player catches on to what they are supposed to be doing. Both are also no-nonsense when it comes to the safety of the players. Before each session, the players are reminded about safe golf shots and to look down the course for someone who may be in a fairway. Avoiding the swimming pool, ponds and perhaps the occasional snake are also covered in a morning “safety briefing” as well as a reminder of how to act and behave while on the golf course.
Kids Day hours are a little flexible with the start time being 9 a.m. until around 2 p.m., and Fincher is using Facebook to update parents if there is a change.
Fincher’s work is an excellent opportunity for any youngster in the Mineral Wells area who wants to learn the game even if they think they can’t afford it. The course has clubs a youngster can borrow and the $10 fee for Kids Day can be waived. The price only covers the cost of bottled water and snacks Fincher provides.
”We are serious about teaching kids the game of golf and will give them every opportunity to play if they show us the work ethic,” Fincher said.