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Golf teacher gives back with free lessons

COVINGTON -- PGA professional Wayne Leal is giving back to the community by giving freely of his time by offering free golf lessons to all children between the ages of 5-17 at the Golf Training Center starting in June.

The classes are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, June 6 for the morning sessions and Thursday, June 7 for the evening sessions.

"The hours are not set, it's going to depend on how many kids we get. If we get too many we may push it for Saturday as well and possibly Friday night. We can do up to 60 kids to this point," said Leal. "If we get 100, we'll still make it work."

The current times are for 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon for Wednesday and 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for Thursday.

The classes will be limited to 10 kids per class meet once a week for an hour. For the first three weeks, Leal will go over how to properly hold and swing the golf club. The final week will be spent on pitching and putting.

For those children that want to participate but do not have clubs, Leal said that he has plenty of clubs for them to use and he'll be able to supply the clubs.

Even though Leal is not charging for his time, the cost of the classes is $25 to cover the cost of the range balls.

"I'm just trying to get more kids involved. Right now it's tough with the economy. The instruction will be free where no money will be coming out of anybody's pocket, its just my time. We have the (cost) balls lowered so we feel that most people will be able to afford something in that range," said Leal. "I coach basketball at the Y and that's free. Now we're just doing it for golf. I'd like to get more kids involved (in golf)."

This is not the first time that Leal has given something for practically nothing. He explained that when he was the golf professional at another course he offered golf for a penny for up to three kids as long as they had a parent with them.

"There are a lot of kids in my neighborhood that never touched a club. They'll come to my house with my kids and they want to try it but some parents don't know anything about golf. That's our job as PGA professionals, to promote the game. That's a big initiative for the PGA, to get more kids and women involved. That's what I'm going to try to do in Newton and Rockdale," said Leal.

Even though the PGA has made it a goal to introduce the amount of younger players and women to the game and hopefully increase the level of those playing in the upcoming years, that has been something that Leal has done and believed in doing for the past 20 years.

"I've taught kids that have gone D-I and become All-American. As long as they enjoy the game that's the biggest thing. Not every kid is going to be great at it, but as long as they enjoy it that's the key," said Leal.

For more information or to register, Leal can be reached by email at thepro@badgolfswings.com. He can also be reached at 413-262-1135.

"It would be great to get the kids out there playing, it's a fun sport. I want to give them the opportunity to learn," said Leal. "If they enjoy it, it's a game for a lifetime."