Black Butte Ranch’s SNAG (Starting New At Golf) program has really started to take off since we first began to offer it last summer. It started quietly, first occasionally being offered in the Lakeside Activity Center.

Earlier this year, Black Butte Ranch’s staff of golf professionals took the program on the road to the children of Sisters Elementary School. And we have also began introducing SNAG each Thursday at Glaze Meadow to the kids at the Junior Putting Challenge.

But that is just not enough for our tastes. At noon on Friday, Aug. 5, the first of two August SNAG classes will tee off. The second will be held at noon on Friday, Aug. 19. Both FREE classes will be held near the climbing wall at the Lakeside Activity Center.

Taught by members of Black Butte Ranch staff of golf professionals, including director of golf Jeff Fought and fellow PGA professional Emily Anderson, there may be no better way to introduce kids to golf than SNAG.

“Jeff and I are both 100 percent for this introduction method to golf,” Anderson said. “It is a fun and light-hearted approach to the game with ergonomic and visual learning aids that make learning easy and fun. … And it makes it fun for the instructors, too.”

SNAG utilizes modified equipment — each club is designed with an extremely oversized head and “golf balls” that are more like tennis balls — designed to make the game simpler. The idea is to make golf a bit more user friendly, especially for young kids. No tiny white golf balls. No expensive equipment. Just a fun game that anyone would enjoy.

The program is effective because of that simplicity. Because it is easier to master SNAG than conventional golf, it gives kids the chance to get an earlier sense of accomplishment. And that feeling accomplishment early can be critical in developing a golfer.

Alone, that would not be enough though to develop a golfer. The skills learned in SNAG would have to be transferable. Well, SNAG is designed to develop the fundamentals of the whole range of strokes and swings, including putting, chipping, pitching and full swing. It is why the The First Tee’s National School Program uses SNAG.

“I truly believe that this is one of the best ways to introduce kids to the game,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched first hand as student after student got excited about golf.”

Most importantly, SNAG is a blast for students and teachers, alike, and the two August classes are free.

To learn more about Black Butte Ranch’s SNAG program or to register for either August class, call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.