Elgin Country Club program gives young golfers honorary memberships

  • Ethan Olvera, 16, of Elgin, was selected to the honorary junior membership program at Elgin Country Club.

      Ethan Olvera, 16, of Elgin, was selected to the honorary junior membership program at Elgin Country Club. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Ethan Olvera of Elgin takes some time to practice Thursday at Elgin Country Club.

      Ethan Olvera of Elgin takes some time to practice Thursday at Elgin Country Club. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin resident Ethan Olvera was one of eight high school students selected this year to participate in the honorary junior program at Elgin Country Club.

      Elgin resident Ethan Olvera was one of eight high school students selected this year to participate in the honorary junior program at Elgin Country Club. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles North graduate Megan Furtney is a standout golfer at Duke University. She was an honorary junior member of Elgin Country Club when she was in high school.

      St. Charles North graduate Megan Furtney is a standout golfer at Duke University. She was an honorary junior member of Elgin Country Club when she was in high school. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Furtney works on her swing at Elgin Country Club on Thursday. The St. Charles North graduate was an honorary junior member of the club while she was in high school.

      Megan Furtney works on her swing at Elgin Country Club on Thursday. The St. Charles North graduate was an honorary junior member of the club while she was in high school. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/13/2022 6:13 AM

Elgin Country Club's honorary junior membership program is again in full swing for youth golfers.

Each year the country club reaches out to local high school golf coaches and athletic directors to find deserving kids who have good grades and need a place to improve their golf game. If selected, they get the same privileges as members' children.

 

Jon Duppler, who is the head pro at the Elgin Country Club, applied for an honorary junior membership when he was attending Larkin High School in 2000. Duppler didn't get chosen then. But now, he runs the program, which has been helping deserving kids gain golfing privileges at the club for more than 25 years.

"I always wanted to be able to do something for the kids, by sort of providing them a home away from home," Duppler said.

Typically the program, which pulls high school juniors and seniors from Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Huntley, Burlington and other surrounding areas, accepts about five kids. This year eight were selected.

Ethan Olvera of Elgin, who will be a junior at Burlington Central High School, was one of the eight selected this year for the program.

"It's just an amazing opportunity that I've been able to take advantage of," Olvera said. "It really has helped me improve my golf, and I can't wait to see how it's going affect my season."

Megan Furtney, a St. Charles North graduate and now standout golfer for Duke University, was once an honorary member who has returned to help teach at the country club.

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"This course is one of the hardest I've played in the area," Furtney said. "So the program and the opportunity to play here really helped train me not only with my physical golf game but with my mental game."

Furtney said she hopes other young golfers get the chance to take advantage of the opportunity.

"When I first heard about it, I didn't even have to think twice," she said. "It's such a great opportunity for kids, and it's a great way to be able to play with other young golfers in the area."

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