ROYERSFORD, Pa. — Spring Ford Country Club had a total of 10 Juniors representing the club Monday in the 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance, the most of any club in the field.
“The Junior program here at Spring Ford Country Club is awesome,” Lumley, 16, of Royersford, Pa. said. “Being around our friends, many of them good golfers, is why we enjoy the Junior program here.”
The head golf professional at Spring Ford, Rich Steinmetz, has been the driving force of the Junior program. His son Drew, a rising senior at The Hill School, was among the participants in the tournament from the home club.
“My dad helps set up all of the Junior tournaments here and he helps create a competitive atmosphere,” Steinmetz, 17 of Gilbertsville, Pa., said. “The tournaments that he sets up help all of us get better and prepare for the GAP and Philly Junior Tour events. He has been a great role model to me and to all of the Junior golfers here.”
Spring Ford has a group of Juniors who have become close because of their long hours on the course together during the summers.
“We all spend hours out here playing and practicing,” Lumley said. “We get to the course at around 10 a.m. and we are here until dark. We all push each other to get through the practice sessions and have fun matches once we get to the course.”
The club’s willingness to include a multitude of Junior golfers is a strong reason as to why they have been able to maintain success as one of the better Junior programs in the area. “I came here last May and immediately I was around the best junior golfers I had ever played with,” Golland, 18, of Wynnewood, Pa. said. “The people I met were very competitive, a lot better than me and that helped me get better. You always have someone to play with no matter what time you get here.”
Bent Creek boys push each other on and off course
Golf is a game of relationships, whether it is with the trusty 14 clubs in your bag or the golfers you stroll the links with.
This week in the 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship, Lancaster, Pa. natives RJ VanTash, Jacob Macinanti and Will Riva share a special bond on and off the golf course as members of Bent Creek Country Club.
“Will and RJ are great guys and they are very good at golf,” Macinanti, 17, a rising senior at Manheim Township High School, said. “RJ hits the ball a country mile and Will is good at every aspect of golf. They are awesome to play with and I wouldn’t expect anything but the best out of them on the golf course.”
VanTash and Riva, both 17, have competed together on Lancaster Catholic’s golf team and more recently won a Pennsylvania 2A state championship.
All three of them have become friendly over the years. Riva and Macinanti knew each other when they both used to play out of Conestoga Country Club. Now the bond between the three of them tightens at Spring Ford Country Club in the Junior Boys’ Championship.
“It means a lot to be playing in the Junior Boys’ Championship with Will and Jacob,” VanTash said. “Will and I actually drove here together and Jake and I have known each other and been friends since we were 4 years old. We play all of the time and it has been really fun.”
Riva said that the three of them gang up on the range and practice together. He said it is nice to have guys to play with because a lot of country club atmospheres don’t have a lot of Juniors.
“It is vital to have guys playing with you all of the time because it is much more enjoyable than playing alone,” Riva said. “If you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, having a good group of friends to play with can definitely make golf a more enjoyable experience and more beneficial.”
Off the golf course, the guys often find themselves and their competitive juices at Riva’s pool.
“We play intense games of pool basketball,” Riva said. “There is a lot of contact and no fouls. It is almost like playing on the street. It is a lot of fun doing that with Jake and RJ.”
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Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.