Morey keeps Elks Jr. Golf Program going

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dick Morey has been helping keep the Elks Junior Golf Program going for the past eight years. (Leader photo/Provided)

Dick Morey has been helping keep the Elks Junior Golf Program going for the past eight years. (Leader photo/Provided)

Age is just a number to Dick Morey.

Since retiring and moving to Magician Lake (which is six miles northwest of Dowagiac), the 74-year old Morey has helped develop young golfers in Dowagiac.

For eight years, Morey has run during the summer as a volunteer the junior golf program in Dowagiac, which is for beginning golfers who are ages eight to 14. It’s an eight week program that takes place on Mondays for three hours in June and July. The lessons take place at the Elks Club golf course. Morey is an Elks Club trustee.

“I got involved with the program 10 years ago,” Morey said. “The people that started it wanted to step away and me being retired and part of the Elks Club moved in to keep the program going. Craig McCoy and I sort of work together. I do the organizational stuff for it.

“Originally, McCoy asked me if I would help. He had two grandkids in the program. I’ve run it for eight years. It’s been fun and I enjoy working with kids. The kids make me feel younger.”

Individual accomplishments weren’t part of Morey’s golf career before he got involved with the junior golf program. He didn’t even play high school golf.

“I was a bogey golfer and just played for fun as a young kid,” Morey said.

When he attended Michigan State University, Morey worked at the school’s Forest Akers golf course.

“It was a job that helped me pay for college,” Morey said.

Out of college, Morey grew up in Niles and worked on the New York Central railroad. From there, Morey moved to Crete, Illinois and worked for the Amoco Oil Company, which he retired from. Morey has been a substitute teacher for 10 years in the Dowagiac school system, is on the board and a teasurer of the Magician Lake Improvement Association and is an officer and on the board of the statewide Michigan Lakes and Streams Association.

“I do a bunch of volunteer work,” Morey said. “Sometimes, it’s hectic, but usually I fit it all in.”

While running the junior golf program, Morey has watched with pride as young golfers have matured into good golfers and even better people. Many of the past junior golfers have gone on to high school and college and excelled in the sport. Dowagiac High School golfer Christian Hess, who made it to the state finals this year, was part of the junior golf program.

“I always tell the young kids that their goal should be to get good and beat us old guys,” Morey said. “Most of them do that.

“All of the kids come back and help us and give back to the young kids. I look at the kids we’ve had in our program and I’m proud. All are top 10 academic-wise and they’ve learned through golf things like good etiquette. You ask them to do something and they do it. All of the kids are good role models.”

As many as 50 kids participated in the program three years ago. This year, 36 kids participated and a grant from the Elks Lodge allowed the program to buys six sets of golf clubs for kids that didn’t have golf clubs. Also, a scholarship was given out that waived the fee for four kids to play in the program. There’s a $50 fee to play.

Morey feels he has several years left in him to run the program.

“My wife asks me how long I’m going to keep doing this,” Morey said. “As long as my health stays good, I enjoy it and it keeps me young I’ll keep doing it.”