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Family fun on the golf course: Tips from Bandon Crossings pros

Summer is a great time for families to enjoy the outdoors on the Oregon Coast. Family golf programs at Bandon Crossings Golf Course make it fun and easy to get outside and into the game of golf.

“Golf is a unique sport that you can play together, as a group, and have a lot of fun with it,” said Jim Wakeman, Head Golf Pro at Bandon Crossings.

Wakeman is a PGA golf professional who’s packed a lot of playing and teaching into his 25-year career. At Bandon Crossings, he’s organized a variety of summer golf clinics and physical education programs for young and aspiring players. He says children’s enthusiasm often inspires parents and grandparents to try the game.

“Family golf is a passion I’ve acquired over the years. As I get more experienced in the industry, I find I’m especially fond of working with youth along with mom or dad,” he said.

Crossings instructor Richard Whitworth recalls his excitement about the game when he was a youngster– he picked up his first golf clubs at age 11 and took his first competitive tour in his 20s. He says adults and children welcome a break from computers and electronic entertainment. Teeing up with coastal evergreens in the background and blue sky overhead is the perfect reason to shut off the cell phone.

“Golf is a wonderful game that the whole family can enjoy together. It’s an activity that everyone in the family can do, and you don’t have to do it well to have fun. A scramble game can be a great bonding experience,” said Whitworth.

“Jim and I introduce the game in a fun way and sneak in some good instruction when they aren’t looking,” he added.

Golf is a sport with its own lingo and score-keeping. So, instruction includes tips on technique, terms, etiquette and how to keep score. Groups practice putting, chipping and full swing. Families play a mini challenge course and a couple of holes on the Crossings golf course. Players shouldn’t worry about a little competition. Just try to surprise yourself by hitting better than you expected, advises Wakeman.

“Hitting a lot of good shots is secondary to enjoying the experience together,” he said.

Wondering how to prepare for the game? Crossings pros offer these tips:

Adult and youth players should prep for an outdoor experience with a lot of walking. Wear closed-toe athletic or walking shoes.

Be ready for slight changes in temperature while on the course, and dress in comfortable, light layers. Always remember to protect skin from sun exposure. Sunscreen and hats are recommended.

Bandon Crossings provides golf clubs, balls and equipment for family groups. Just plan to bring an enthusiastic group of friends or family.

To schedule a Bandon Crossings Family Fun Golf Experience, call 541-347-3232. Learn more at

Bandon Crossings Golf Course is an award-winning 18-hole golf course located just south of Bandon, Oregon, at 87530 Dew Valley Lane. Visit for course information and tee times. For more information about family programs and lessons, contact Jim Wakeman or Richard Whitworth, 541-347-3232.

Article and photo contributed by Bandon Crossings Golf Course.