McKINNEY — It didn’t take long for participants at Melissa Independent School District’s golf camp at Oak Hollow Golf Course to realize their instructor was the real deal. Shortly after introductions, Melissa High School head golf coach Chris Tyner moved the group onto a nearby putting green to begin putting instruction. While noting proper technique and other pointers to the campers, Tyner promptly sent a sweet 35-foot putt to the bottom of the cup. (Any questions?)
“I want them to, obviously, sharpen their skills,” Tyner said of this, his fourth camp. “But I want them to come out at the very end loving the game of golf, and wanting to pursue it in high school, pursue it in college — wherever their dreams take them. That’s the ultimate goal.”
“The last three or four years we’ve exponentially grown the program,” he said. “We’ve gone from having a team of three or four girls and five or six boys to this upcoming year we’ll have seven or eight girls and 12 to 15 boys. So we’re growing and I still think we’re on the edge of a big boom of golfers in Melissa, as big as Melissa is growing right now.”
Tyner’s camp included putting drills on the first day, chipping and pitching on Day 2 then driving-range work with irons and woods over the last two days. Morning sessions were for fifth-through-seventh-graders and eighth- and ninth-graders followed. Six campers participated in morning sessions and four in the afternoons.
One girl, Tatum Cass, was among the 10 total campers. She’ll be a freshman at McKinney North.
“She heard we were having the camp and wanted to come,” Tyner said. “So I said, ‘Come on.’”
Walker Eanes will be a freshman at Melissa this year. He said he’s enjoyed “just being around the game of golf” and spending time with Tyner. Chipping, Eanes said on Wednesday, is what he’s most progressed at this week.
“That used to be a weak part of my game. I’ve gotten better at it.”
Tyner said while students like hitting the long ball best, the toughest part of the game for them to pick up is putting and chipping. He stressed the importance of making 3-to-5-foot putts compared to hitting 300-yard drives. Tyner noted that both count one stroke — miss the short putt and you’ve wasted much of a monster drive.
Tyner’s varsity golf team is coming off a fine year. The girls won their ninth-straight district championship, with incoming junior Leah Tyner taking the individual district title. At regionals, the Lady Cards placed a solid eighth. The boys’ team placed second in district and was a regional qualifier — with Nathan Foster taking individual district runner-up honors.
Leah Tyner assisted her father at camp.
“I love helping them,” she said. “Anything to get more players into high school and have someone love the sport as much as I do. And they have a great time. They have competitions and they get into it.”
As for the Melissa girls’ past season, Leah said, “That was so much fun. The team was amazing. The team worked so hard. … Regionals was tough because I was really going for state. I was really pushing for it. We’ll just try again next year, and I think our team can go to state.”
Asked about winning the individual district title, Leah said, “The thing I remember most is the people I played with, because they were just so much fun. For two rounds you have the same people, so you really get to know them and you become friends.”