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River Oaks Junior Golf Program attracts 70 kids
Escalons Jasmine Ryan works with seven-year-old Carleigh Damante of Keyes during the first session of the River Oaks Jr. Golf Program this past month in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Escalon's Jasmine Ryan provided instruction to Carleigh Damante, Gabriel Rodriguez and a handful of other boys and girls during the June 7-29 session of the River Oaks Junior Golf Program.

Ryan, a 2015 Pitman grad, played the sport her senior, junior and sophomore years in high school.

"This is my third year helping out," Ryan said. "A lot of the kids are making progress."

Damante (7) and Rodriguez (10), who live in Keyes and Modesto, respectively, signed up for beginner classes.

"This is my first year," said Rodriguez, who attends Summit Charter Academy in Ceres. "I've learned how to grip the club and stand."

"It's pretty fun," added Damante, a second-year participant.

The Thomas sisters, Madison (10) and Alyssa (8), received intermediate instruction from John Morshead at the driving range.

Madison, Alyssa and John reside in Hughson.

The Junior Golf Program's first session of classes attracted 70 participants, aged 5 to 17.

The second session will run, July 12 to Aug. 3.

Cost is $30 for So You Are New To Golf (SNAG) participants. Youngsters (5-7) use lightweight golf clubs with over-sized heads and larger golf balls. They focus on coordination, balance and accuracy during Tuesday and Thursday night classes.

Cost is $45 for beginners, which pays for seven one-hour classes and free range balls Monday through Friday.

Cost is $65 for intermediates, which includes seven lessons, range balls and free play on the front nine.
Cost is $85 for advanced (seven lessons, range balls and access to all 18 holes).

Rob Phipps established the River Oaks Jr. Golf Program with assistance from veteran teaching pro Greg Silva.

Rob was the club's general manager until he passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44 in 2007.

More than 6,000 area youth have been introduced to the sport of golf through their creation.