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Nine holes pose challenges at French Camp course

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Nine holes pose challenges at French Camp course

Former PGA professional Elmer Weintz is the golf instructor at the French Camp RV Park Resort and Golf Course. He works in the pro shop, helping players of all skill levels.

VINCE REMBULAT/The 209


POSTED March 17, 2012 1:05 a.m.

FRENCH CAMP — Elmer Weintz has a great love for the game.

As a golf instructor at French Camp RV Park Resort and Golf Course, he’s battled back from a recent illness to resume his duties at the nine-hole facility.

“My love for golf has kept me going all these years,” proclaimed the 81-year-old Weintz, who is currently working with the Lathrop High golf program along with that of a nearby charter school.

French Camp is also the home course for the Spartans, who, for the most part, according to Weintz, are made up of first-time players.

“It’s a thrill (for me) when a kid, who has never held a golf club before in his life, gets a hold of a ball,” he said on Wednesday.

Weintz has been associated with the game for most of his life. He attended the Professional Golf Association School back in the 1960s, and was once a one or two handicap.

“That was years ago,” said Weintz, who used to play in the California State Open.

Much has changed over the years, including the popularity of the game.

“Woods were woods but now (the drivers) are metal,” he said. “The biggest change has been the different types of golf balls.”

He still plays, sneaking in a few rounds here and there while receiving treatment for his illness a year ago.

“Before that, I didn’t play for about a year,” said Weintz, who has been at French Camp for over seven years.

Back then, the course had 18 holes that skirted around the RV park. French Camp opened in the mid 1990s as a nine-hole course that was originally designed, according to the Northern California Golf Association, by Lloyd Zastre and Scott Whitson.

A few years ago, French Camp was redesigned by current manager and supervisor Dave Arana back to a nine-hole course.

“The first hole is now a long (551-yards from the blue tees) par 5,” said Weintz, who noted that golfers can play the course twice in order to get in 18 holes.

 “We have the distinction of having two flags at every hole,” he added.

Located off Highway 99 at French Camp Road, the golf course often attracts its fair share of freeway passersby, not to mention those staying at the RV park.

“Golf makes for a good break,” Weintz said.

At French Camp, he pointed to the par-3 No. 8 as the signature hole. Surrounded by water, this island green plays 191-yards from the blue tee box, 143 from the white, and 111 from the red.

“The No. 1 (hole), No. 2, No. 5 and No. 9 have water hazards,” said Weintz. “No. 3 also has a little water.”

That’s why those in the know will stash extra balls when playing French Camp.

Weintz’s passion is teaching the game.

“I can improve anyone’s game – guaranteed,” he said. “But it’ll take more than just one lesson.”

VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter

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