Michael Clark may not be a golf pro, but he has a passion for golf and prides himself as a great teacher.
Last month, Clark was hired as a golf instructor at Village Greens Golf Course by the Kitsap County Department of Parks and Recreation. As instructor, he will provide individual lessons, group lessons and junior golf camp.
Clark, 41, bring more than 20 years of experience as an instructor to Village Greens. He was an instructor at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa in Warm Springs, Ore., and Sun Lakes Golf Course in Arizona.
He has also served as an instructor in Washington at Sunnyside Driving Range in Sunnyside, Cherry Hill Golf Course in Granger and Mount Adams Golf Course in Toppenish, along with a junior clinic at the 700 Club with Steve Jones.
“I had some great people that introduced me to golf,” Clark said. “I mostly learned it on my own. I taught myself.”
He said he has copies of various golf magazines dated back to the 1960s.
Clark said early this week, he conducted a golf lesson with a man who was slicing the ball when he tees off.
“I got got him hitting the ball better after a 30-minute lesson,” Clark said. “It was one of the best lessons I’ve had in a long time. This is what makes it worthwhile.”
Clark will be available for lessons anytime during the week.
“My favorite part is to teach,” Clark said.
Clark and his wife moved to Port Orchard eight months ago and the couple manages self-storage units.
Clark began playing golf at age 9 when a neighbor took him to the course for the first time. Afterward, his parents dropped him off at a golf course each day during the summer.
In high school, Clark was a four-time district champ and three-time state champion at Grandview High School. He won state titles in 1987, 1988 and 1990 under golf coach Rob Roberts.
“He was an awesome golf coach,” Clark said.
He also participated in the Washington Junior Golf Association and later joined the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Apprenticeship Program in lieu of taking one of two full golf scholarships that were offered.
He did not complete the PGA program.
“I may not be a PGA professional, but I have respect from people I’ve worked with,” Clark. “I chased the tour and was very close.”
While living in Eastern Washington, he coached high school golf at Prosser and Sunnyside.
Clark, who studied to be a speech pathologist in college, loves working with children with disabilities. This summer, Clark has set up lessons for Special Olympics candidates beginning in June.
“I love dealing with special need kids,” said Clark. “To me, it’s a huge deal to help kids.”
Two junior golf camps are slated for July 22-26 and July 29 to Aug. 2, for ages 6 to 16.
As for the course, Clark said it’s a short course, but “very tough to play.”
“If I can’t shoot a 72 on it, I’ll be disappointed. I know it’s a tough course to play,” he said.
Clark and the parks department is also working with the Golf Channel and Golfnow.com to produce a better website presence and to assist in marketing the course. The website will have state-of-the art features including a fly-over of the course and GPS App for mobile devices so that golfers can see what the course looks like from above and be able to gauge how close they are to the pin.
The golf shop now serves frozen snacks such as corn dogs, hot pockets, and ice cream.
Following the renovations of the golf course, Larry Gilhuly, USGA consultant on the project, stated that Village Greens is ideal for families, youth and beginner golfers.
“Village Greens is exactly what is needed in the area as a great way to introduce the game,” said Gilhuly.
The course has a driving range, practice putting and chipping greens and is an 18-hole executive golf course which most people can play in just under three hours.
Village Greens Golf Course is open seven days a week until 9 p.m. for the high season.
For more information about Village Greens Golf Course check out the website at www.kitsapgov.com/parks/Parks/pages/communityparks/village_greens_golfcourse.htm.