April 15, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
25°F

Westfield gives local golfers a sweet treat

WESTFIELD CENTER — The practice facilities at Westfield Group Country Club are no secret.

The course opened its top-notch driving range and chipping/putting areas to the Medina County Achievement Center Special Olympics Golf League on Monday.

Dan Fox practices on the driving range at the Westfield Group Country Club during a special event for Special Olympics golfers. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Despite narrowly beating an evening thunderstorm, the event was a success.

“Westfield was so great to us,” said Medina resident Ken Rockhold, who helped coordinate the event. “They had passenger carts to run people to the practice range and when the storm came in, they shuttled everyone to the pavilion. It was a meet and greet for all of them since last summer.”

The event was used to kick off the organization’s partner golf league that is held every Thursday at Deer Pass Golf Course.

Rockhold, who has been involved with the county’s chapter of Special Olympics since its inception with his sons Scott and Brian, proposed the idea with fellow Westfield member Andy Schultz, who plays partner golf with one of the participants in the league.

The two approached Westfield Golf Course Superintendent Mark Jordan, and Jordan put the wheels in motion to provide the Special Olympians a chance to work on their skills.

“We started kicking the idea around and I thought, ‘I’ll go to Mark,’” said Rockhold, who has been a member at the club for the past 25 years. “He was the guy who pushed all the right buttons and basically opened the door for us.”

More than 30 golfers took to the range and practice areas Monday, working on everything from basic hitting techniques off the tee to putting. Rockhold’s son, Mark, and his daughter-in-law, Connie Teitsworth — both are teachers at Cloverleaf High School — helped with some of the instruction along with Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities Special Olympics coordinator Kathy Miller.

The helpers and participants were not only impressed by the welcome they received from the Westfield staff, but the facility itself.

“Some of the parents came in and had comments like, ‘Would you look at this place?’” Rockhold said. “If you’ve never been to Westfield, it’s awe-inspiring.
“I think everyone was amazed at the hospitality, but that’s the typical Westfield way.”

The Medina County League will play until September, and each player needs to have three rounds in before Aug. 6. Participants will then take part in a qualifier at Riceland Golf Course just south of Orrville before the state championships in Cincinnati.

After Monday, the players are already off to a great start.

“In the past, we never had an opportunity like this and we need to do it more,” Rockhold said. “Everyone at Westfield was so nice to them. It was a new adventure for us, but it turned out great.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.