Stevens: Lobo Golf Camp Is A Fun Place To Be

June 14, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Golf Camp

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The goals of the University of New Mexico Lobos Junior Golf Camps are obvious, if you decide to trek out to the Championship Course and witness the young swingers attacking the course with clubs and smiles.

The smiles might be the primary goal. These young golfers are having fun and it's unlikely that any young athlete will take up a sport that doesn't bring with it a splash of joy. It helps to like your game.

There are other camp goals, too.

  • Teach the young campers the fundamentals, rules and etiquette of golf.
  • Help nudge them on a path to becoming Lobo fans.
  • And hopefully spark that interest that will turn them into lifetime golfers.

    "It's a game you can play as a little kid or as an older person," said Jill Trujillo, UNM's women's golf coach. "It's a game that stays with you a long time. You can play with friends or family or just go out by yourself, if you want.

    "We want these kids to come out and discover why so many people love the game."

    There is no question that golf is a challenging game. There also is no question that part of lure of golf is to see -- and feel -- a sharp, crisp shot jump off your club.

    "Man, I love it when I hit it like that," said one young camper watching his drive scream off the driving range - about 100 yards straight and high.

    Yep, that's part of the lure of golf - that one shot.

    "Kids are like everyone else who golfs," said Trujillo. "You can hit ten terrible shots and then you hit that one good shot that gets up in the air and you love it. That's the shot you want these kids to keep remembering because that's the shot that brings you back to the course."

    Trujillo's women's program teams up with Glen Millican's Lobo men's program to hold junior camps every summer. The camps take advantage of one of the top collegiate sites in America - the University of New Mexico Championship Course.

    The Lobos have a special section of the course that includes a driving range, an indoor facility, a chipping area, and several putting greens. Another huge plus with this camp is having Millican and Trujillo out on the course giving instructions.

    First, they know what they are doing. UNM golf has produced 35 team conference championships and 130 all-conference players over the years.

    Second, you can tell that Millican and Trujillo enjoy being part of the camp.

    "You can tell the kids want to be out here and that makes it even more fun for you," said Millican. "Our community here is huge for all Lobo athletics and this is a way for our programs to become involved in that community at a young age.

    "It's important for all Lobo sports to reach out to the community, to the kids, and help develop future Lobo fans. You can never have too many Lobo fans."

    Said Trujillo: "This is my 22nd year doing camps and it's fun every year. It's a privilege to be out here enjoying the chance to get young people involved in the game I love. Some programs use camps as a recruiting tool and that's a natural part of it, but it's really more about getting kids involved in the game.

    "We hope to give kids a solid root and hopefully they'll continue on and maybe even play competitively later on."

    Trujillo and Millican said she believes there is a misconception about golf being a rich person's game. Of course, there is some expense in buying equipment, but the coaches think golf in Albuquerque can be an affordable experience. And a good investment because you can play the game for a long time.

    "There are a lot of great and reasonably priced clubs in our area," said Millican. "The first thing you have to do is get kids interested. These camps are important because I don't think golf is a game that naturally comes to a parent's or a kid's mind. It's easier to identify with teams you see on TV and kids are drawn to team sports.

    "But golf is a lot of fun, too."