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Making golf a colorful course

Home on the Range adds SNAG program as teaching tool
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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NEWCASTLE — Decked out in his golf pro attire, Phil Green might look a little goofy swinging the bright, multi-colored, plastic golf club and hitting a purple ball that looks like a miniature tennis ball. But the owner of Home on the Range is sold on SNAG, a learning tool for golfers of all ages — so much so that he has set up a nine-hole course at his driving range. “I’ve been using it in schools for 11 years now,” Green said of SNAG, which stands for Starting New At Golf. “But it’s great for people who would like to get out and play golf, but might be intimidated by it. It’s really fun for date night, or seniors who aren’t able to go out and play nine holes on a full-size course.” SNAG was designed as a teaching tool, mainly for children. The oversized club heads, squared-off, color-coordinated grips and oversized balls make it easy for even first-timers to get the hang of hitting the ball. Portable tees are used to launch the balls, which can fly 60 yards with a full swing. The targets are Velcro-covered cones. The SNAG equipment was perfect for Green’s purposes. He’s conducted clinics and classes at schools throughout the area and started a golf team at E.V. Cain Middle School last year. This summer, he will have a series of youth camps and clinics through the Auburn Recreation District at Home on the Range. Most of the time, Home on the Range is a standard driving range. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and all day Saturdays, it transforms into what Green said is the world’s only SNAG golf course. The short, straight-forward layout allows groups to play a round in about half an hour. “I think it’s the same feeling as playing disc golf or mini-golf,” Green said. “Probably a little more like disc golf because it requires a full swing on most holes.” There are no delicately manicured greens or neat fairways. But the $5 green fee is tough to beat and the feel of the club is shockingly similar to the real thing. “It plays just like you’re playing a nine-hole course,” Green added. “It’s got all the aspects of traditional golf. If you don’t hit the green, you’re chipping. We’ve had a 13-month-old just walking who came out and played and an 85-year-old has gone out on the course.”