A program designed to help young people at the middle and high school levels develop their golf knowledge and skills is being put in place at Link Hills Country Club in cooperation with golf coaches from local public schools.

Bob Ward, Link Hills manger and golf pro, said in a press release that he and local coaches “have identified approximately 10 middle school and high school players who want to work and develop their golf game,” and are establishing a plan that will give them a hand in doing that.

Ward said the program was conceived by a Link Hills board member who asked: “‘Why not give kids in our community a free membership for a year?’ After some meetings and tweaks along the way, we went to the membership and asked for volunteers to assist with the funding.”

The program is personally meaningful to Ward, who noted that he himself was a junior golfer in the 1970s and golfed alongside adult members at Link Hills by age 15, making Link Hills central to his entire life in golfing.

“The junior outreach at Link Hills has been an ongoing practice for many years, and the membership has always welcomed junior golf,” Ward said. “Link Hills has always been junior-friendly.”

The new outreach takes that a step further, he noted, by removing financial barriers for those approved for the program.

“This is a new way to assist interested juniors with financial assistance,” Ward said. “We anticipate annual growth with this program.”

The hope for next year is to be able to involve 20 junior golfers in the program, he said in the news release.

Membership for selected junior golfers “is completely complimentary by way of the generous support of voluntary members,” Ward said. For those golfers, “the ability to access the practice facilities, golf course and selected social functions is completely free for one year. This unique program will provide all the resources to have a better understanding of the game of golf.”

The focus of the program will be upon competition, rules, etiquette, practice methods, course management fitness and more.

Link Hills currently is the home golf course for Tusculum University, Greeneville High School, Greeneville Middle School, South Greene and West Greene high schools, and starting in 2019, Nolachuckey Elementary School, according to the press release.