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Young Golfers Have Eyes Toward the Future

Sept. 8, 2004 – Young Virgin Islanders say they want to be like Tiger Woods. So, they are slinging bags of clubs over their shoulders and heading to the tees.
Tuesday was the first practice session for junior golfers at Carambola Golf Course. Amid a sea of lush, green grass and softly, rolling hills, sand traps, and ponds, about 20 youths, ages 10 to16 mostly, but some even younger, received their first lesson in swing fundamentals from professional instructors.
Shemul Williams was practicing his putts on the green. At the age of 5, Shemul has come a long way as a golfer. "I hated it in the beginning," Shemul said. "First I was hitting the ball past the flag and then I hit it to the flag. I like it now."
Beverly Williams, Shemul's mom, thinks the new program is so beneficial she enrolled her five children. "It’s a growing experience for the children, we come here two or three times a week."
Williams said two of her children — Joshua, 11, and Kellee, 13, — have been playing competitively for two years. "They have 16 trophies between them," Williams said. And Shemul isn't far behind; he took second place in the 8-and-under summer golf tournament.
Renny Roker, St. Croix native and founder of Teens on the Green, couldn't be happier that a new crop of golfers is being cultivated. Roker looks forward to the junior golfer program adding to the TOG championship roster scheduled for the first weekend in November at the Carambola course. This year's event will bring 150 participants from over 40 countries including 26 visitors from Thailand. Requirements for individual entry and team competition are a 12 or lower handicap and a better than average academic average. Golfers in Teens on the Green range in age from 10 to 18 years. Parent participation is mandatory. The golfers will compete for titles and ranking for college scholarships.
"Teens on the Green is making it possible for 100 youngsters a year to receive free lessons and academic tutoring, without government funds," Roker said. "TOG could be responsible for securing more four-year scholarships for youngsters than all of the V.I. public school graduates combined."
Roker is soliciting local businesses to get involved through sponsorship or purchasing commercial advertisement for the November tournament. Major sponsorship opportunities include radio, television, newspaper ads and banners at the event for international exposure. For information contact Roker at 719-4595 or by e-mail at rennyroker@teenonthegreen.com.

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