By VINNIE PORTELL

Sports Editor

Lemon Bay Golf Club is in its 24th year hosting “A Better Shot” junior golf summer program, and it’s as popular as it has ever been.

The program maxed out at 160 kids this summer for the eight-week golf camp, which emphasizes life values along with golf skills.

“It has two meanings,” LBGC Director of Golf Ben McCoy said of A Better Shot. “Yeah, it’s a better shot in golf, but more importantly to us here at Lemon Bay, it’s a better shot at life. We’re teaching them so many things that have more to do with life than with golf. Etiquette, honesty — all the positive things that young people need to learn.

“When they come in the clubhouse, all the shirts are tucked in, every young man’s hat is off, all the kids are holding the doors for each other. That’s what it’s really all about.”

Kids ranging from 5 to 18 play in the camp, which provides one-hour lessons before sending the kids out to play for either three, five, seven, nine or 18 holes, depending on skill level.

Though the camp has been full this year, anyone interested in registering for next year can do so at LemonBayGolfClub.com or stop by the club at 9600 Eagle Preserve Drive, Englewood.

The cost is $100 for the eight weeks, with a majority of the funding coming from LBGC members, to keep the price reasonable for most families.

Along with golf lessons and course time, kids will be treated to lunch as well as shirts, hats and water bottles.

There are about eight coaches and 20 volunteers who dedicate their time to making sure the program runs smoothly, as well as former campers who come back to help out.

Aside from “A Better Shot,” Lemon Bay Golf Club also gives out between 30 and 40 thousand dollars worth of scholarships to Lemon Bay High School students each year.

“We’ve had children in our program who are now doctors, attorneys, teachers, everything,” McCoy said. “We have children in our schools now whose parents also went to this camp.

“The biggest thing for us is trying to give these kids a great opportunity at life.”

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