HOWLAND – It’s safe to say that the students playing golf for Penobscot Valley High School are familiar with Michael Clendenning.
Clendenning, the pro and owner of Barnes Brook Golf Course in West Enfield, has worked with these young golfers since they started playing in earnest. Barnes Brook is home to the Maine Junior Golf Club, which this summer attracted 63 players.
This autumn, the PVHS players will benefit even more from Clendenning’s knowledge of the sport. A month ago, he agreed to succeed Dwight Dawson as the coach of the Howlers.
“It’s promising,” Clendenning said. “We get to take most of the kids we’ve had in the junior program, and continue with them in high school.”
Gerald Hutchinson, athletic director at PVHS, is equally enthused.
“He’s a golf pro,” Hutchinson said. “You can’t ask for better than that. He worked with the kids all summer at his golf course.”
The transition from junior high to high school golfer is not unlike the transition to any other sport.
“It’s the growth spurt,” Clendenning said. “They become longer hitters. We try and teach them how to manage the course, and play the golf course instead of trying to beat it.”
Clendenning expects at least seven boys and four girls to play for the Howlers this fall. Wyatt Foster, the captain, and Rachel Vanadestine are returning seniors.
“The’ve both been playing since they were small,” the coach said. “They’ve both matured. They’ve learned to play the shot that they have.”
Barnes Brook offers a Maine Junior Golf Club membership for only $10. Membership includes group lessons from July 9-11. free to play in the junior golf tournaments, and more group clinics at no extra charge after each junior tournament.
Golf tournaments are played five times, ending on Aug. 14. That’s one day before Clendenning and his team begin their first high school practice.
PVHS begins its fall schedule with an Aug. 28 match at Mattanawcook, beginning at 4 p.m.
The PVHS golf schedule:
Aug. 28, at Mattanawcook, 4
Aug. 30, Penquis, 4
Sept. 4, Central, 4
Sept. 6, Hermon, 4
Sept. 11, Mattanawcook, 4
Sept. 13, at Penquis, 4
Sept. 18, at Central, 4
Sept. 20, at Old Town, 4
Sept. 22, at Mattanawcook with Ft. Kent, Houlton, 11
Sept. 27, PVCs at Mattanawcook, 8