Golf is a family affair for the DeThornes of LaGrange. In fact, golf has become a bonding experience for the four members of the DeThorne family ever since daughter Lindsay started the sport last year.
But it might not have happened if Lindsay’s mom, Cathy DeThorne, had not taken her daughter last year to Free Lesson Month. The program, sponsored by the Professional Golfers’ Association’s Play Golf America, will be offered again this May at golf courses around the Chicago area.
"We want more people to participate in golf," says professional golfer Carol Rhoades, who gave Lindsay her first lesson. "Golf truly is one of the very few games that can be family oriented. They don’t have to be good, but they can enjoy it together forever."
Rhoades, who teaches private golf lessons at Stony Creek in Oak Lawn, is one of 130 Chicago area pros who will offer free 10- to 15-minute lessons to parents and kids throughout May.
"My daughter had been toying with the notion of taking some lessons. Free Lesson Month was the incentive to sign her up," DeThorne says. "I think it’s a great way to see whether or not it’s something your child might enjoy. This year [Lindsay] made the golf team. She adores it."
"We’re about to go on a golfing weekend," she says. "It’s a great thing for us all to do together."
The free lessons are customized to the skill level of the student, Rhoades says. First-time golfers learn where to place their feet and how to grip and swing the club. Long-time golfers might want pointers on specifics, such as chipping, putting or correcting that irritating left slice.
"It was very personalized instruction," DeThorne says. "I wish I had gotten both of my kids involved in [golf] much younger. It teaches you about honesty and that you have to control your temper even when you’re really mad at yourself."
And trying out golf doesn’t have to mean a big financial investment. During Free Lesson Month most courses will loan you clubs and balls for the lesson.
Reservations for the lessons are required. For a list of golf courses and country clubs offering free lessons, visit www.playgolfamerica.com.