FORT WAYNE – Getting to go to the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and to be among 84 of the top junior golfers in the nation, comes at a perfect time for Oliver Gibson.
The Carroll graduate is getting ready for his freshman season at IPFW and knows this experience at the Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy will improve his game
I cant put into words how excited I am about this, Gibson said.
The academy was developed in response to recommendations from past U.S. Ryder Cup captains, and as part of the Ryder Cup Outreach Program, to improve the skills of the nations best young players.
Each of the 41 PGA sections nominated one boy and one girl. Gibson applied for the honor and was accepted, along with Avons Annie Rodgers.
They will get instruction on a variety of skills that affect stroke- and match-play formats, including swing mechanics, competitive course management, fitness and mental approaches to golf from Sunday to July 8.
Its a perfect time for me, transitioning from high school to college. I wont just be playing in high school invitationals. I have to be ready for college invitationals in Florida, said Gibson, 17. This will do nothing but enhance my game. They wouldnt have it if it didnt benefit anybody. Im banking on it helping me.
This is the second year for the academy, which began with a $650,000 donation by the 2010 Ryder Cup team.
We had a tremendously successful first year of the Ryder Cup Junior Academy, said Allen Wronowski, the PGA of Americas president. I was able to see first-hand the impact this had on a special group of junior golfers from across the country. I am sure that this year will have the same positive impression on the future of our great game.
All of Gibsons expenses are paid.
I talked to one of last years participants and he said it was awesome, Gibson said. You see your swing on video and learn all these different things, like attack angles and different aspects about your swing. There are skills challenges there and pros. I dont see them messing with your individual swings. Im hoping its a lot of short game, chipping and putting, mental approaches and how pros go out there and through their rounds. They can help the juniors mindsets.
Gibsons Chargers reached the regional stage and finished eighth during the IHSAA season. He shot a 78 at Orchard Ridge Country Club.
He averaged 76.53 strokes per round and won the age-group championship in eight Indiana Golf Association events during 2011.
He tied for 15th at the Northern Junior Masters this year, shooting 80-76 at Pine Valley Country Club.