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Learning from the greats: Chip Beck grows the next generation of golf at Boeing Classic's Emirates Youth Clinic | Photo Gallery
Budding Snoqualmie golfer Kasey Maralack is only 10 years old, and she is already finding success in the game. Last Tuesday, Aug. 19, she got a big lesson in thinking positive from one of the greats of the game.
Maralack hit the green with golf pro Chip Beck for some pro tips at the Emirates Youth Clinic, one of several family-oriented activities that took place last week as part of the 10th annual Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
Maralack, who is going into the fifth grade, picked up tips on her swing and grip. Dozens of children watched as Beck drove the ball, shot from his knees, did push-ups and told his story. She was among only a handful who got to play with him.
“The only limit she has is how she sees herself,” said Beck, who encouraged every young person, but especially girls, to improve their skills, stick with the game, and reach their potential.
“Keep thinking you’re going to do really well, and you will do really well.”
“I didn’t know I was doing it wrong until I talked to him,” said Kyle Guthrie, a 16-year-old varsity player from Kentridge. “I liked getting help on my grip.”
A native of Fayetteville, N.C., who now lives in Chicago, Beck, 57, was among the top 10 golfers in the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1991, he shot a third round of 59 in the Las Vegas Invitational, one of only six players in the history of the PGA Tour to hit that mark. He waited patiently after the session, and signed his name and a “59,” his historic score, on hats, shirts and banners for every kid who wanted one.
“When you start with the game of golf, it might change your life completely, just like it changed my life,” Beck said. His first day on a course, at age 10, he learned to grip. “I remember I was so excited to see the ball go in the air. I never dreamed it would take me to almost every continent…every state. I’ve met five presidents!”
The Emirates Youth Clinic is sponsored by First Tee, a program that encourages children to stay in school and explore the game of golf. Beck is involved with First Tee in Chicago.
“They’re trying to innovate ways to get kids involved, and keep them involved,” he said.
“We want to grow the game through the young children,” Beck added. “We have to support the young kids or the game is going to die.”
During his presentation, he stressed how girls can succeed in golf.
“They need to get involved in the game,” he said. “There’s so much opportunity for them.” Beck especially underlined the college scholarships that can be earned by strong girls golfers.
Asked by a child about his practice routine, Beck answered, “I practice what I need to do.” At his age and level, he’s like a concert pianist. “I practice to stay tuned up.” The game, he said, is “part ballet, part-hand-eye coordination.” And, you should control your temper.
“If you have a desire to play, people will help you find the golf course, get to the golf course,” Beck said. “Bug your parents, bug a lot of people, say ‘I want to go play golf,’ and you’ll make it.”
• Learn more about First Tee junior golf program at http://www.thefirsttee.org/.
Learn about the Boeing Classic at www.boeingclassic.com.
Chip Beck, winner of the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational by a rare score of 59 strokes, talks about how he grew up in the game.
Kyle Guthrie, 16, the number-four player on his Kentridge High School team, drives using a new grip, as professional golfer Chip Beck supervises.
Children and flight attendants from Emirates get close for a group photo with Beck.
Brady Sage, 12, gets Beck to sign his Boeing Classic banner. Beck signed his triumphant 59 score for every child.
Aisha Mounir, 12, of Issaquah, gets an autograph from Chip Beck. She takes youth golf classes at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
Beck chats with two brothers following the clinic.