The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 8 - December 18, 2013


Youths receive Junior Golf Awards

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

LPGA instructor Maryann Modrak, of Pope Golf School,
instructs the Community Center’s Bud Stokes Junior
Golfers on how to create their own miniature golf
course on the putting green at the Key Royale Golf Club.

The fall session of the Anna Maria Island Community Center’s Bud Stokes Junior Golf Program has concluded. Named in memory of the late avid golfer and Holmes Beach seasonal resident Bud Stokes, the program’s purpose is to provide an opportunity to learn and enjoy the game of golf, teach boys and girls the fundamentals of the game and maintain an interest in golf by providing a fun atmosphere.

There are two sessions for the Junior Golf enthusiasts every year and conclude with an award ceremony at the Key Royale Golf & Country Club. Keirra Johnston and Nick Yatros won the Ace award. Grayson Chatt and Sam Waterman won the award for Best Teamwork. Gavin Johnston and Anthony Monetti were the Challenge winners.

LPGA instructor Maryann Modrak, of Pope Golf School, taught the kids and handed out the awards on Thursday. She thanked the kids for sharing her love for golf and encouraged them to keep playing. She also noted the appreciation she has for the partnership between the Community Center and a first class facility like the Key Royale Golf Club.

Some of the kids expressed that they really enjoyed designing and playing their own miniature golf course. The kids were given various objects like swimming noodles, cups and PVC pipe, and instructed to design their own course on the putting green. After completion, the groups played the course and were able to enjoy the rewards of their creative efforts.

The Community Center wrote and receives a grant every year from the Florida Junior Golf Council. The grant funding comes from the sale of Florida State “Golf Capital of the World” license plates. This is the start-up seed money needed to provide professional instruction, equipment, afterschool transportation, golf shirts, hats, and snacks for the children’s program. The remainder of the costs are generated through Center fundraising, private donations and deferred by talented and generous volunteers.

The instructors and volunteers did a great job of teaching the kids and emphasis is given every day to rules and proper golf etiquette. Instruction is fun and the children get to play three to nine holes at the end of their daily session.

Golf is one of the few sports you can play for your entire life. Volunteer golf lovers are now giving back to the future younger generation. Passing the putter you might say to the next generation of golf lovers and developing an interest in the game that will hopefully last a lifetime.



Why doesn’t everyone live here?

Last week I wrote about the radar images that showed the United States with the exception of Florida, mostly covered in red, pink and white. That meant that all those states had some combination of snow, sleet, ice and just generally miserable conditions. All of that was followed by typical bitter cold. My daughter sent me a screenshot of the Weather Channel app that showed up on her smart phone. It was 6° in Kansas. But no place else was much better.

As a result, by Tuesday, someone had created a fabulous image on Facebook with a similar radar picture. Instead of weather conditions, it implied temperature conditions. All of the U.S. was pink and blue, indicating cold. The entire state of Florida was red and yellow, indicating warmth. The headline read, “Today is National Hate Florida Day!”

This past week has been like that. I suspect the next few months will engender such sentiments. Needless to say, the discussion threads lit up like a Christmas tree with people stuck in the northern climes bashing the humidity and heat like it was the worst kind of pariah. And the Florida defenders like me, saying that we’ll take a 90 degree breezy Florida summer day over a typical stifling Midwest summer day that makes 90 feel like 110. And it is not uncommon for the thermometer to read into the 100s there.

If you are reading this and don’t live here, it probably means you have been here or know somebody who has been here and knows what it is like to live here. If you are reading this and do live here, you may also know from your friends and relatives that it has been the kind of weather already this winter that will drive the snowbirds here in droves.

I am training for a marathon in January in Celebration. There just aren’t too many marathons this time of year anywhere else in the country. I’m doing my long-distance training at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton. As I was running this morning I saw eagles, ospreys, and so many bird species flying, roosting, and floating on the many ponds and estuaries.

If you are a regular reader you know that I listen to my iPod shuffle while I run. This dismays some who say that you should never run with music. But others like me know that it would be impossible to run without it. I do it safely. I wear headphones that don’t plug into my ears so I can still hear bicycles behind me and pretty much all sounds of nature, which I enjoy. Sometimes I even push one of the headphones off my ear if I know that I really need to. I also only run during the daytime and run in public places with much passing foot traffic, and places that have many security cameras.

This morning at Robinson, there was a police officer sitting in his car most of the time. I bugged him to take my picture after I had finished my 16 miles so that I could post it to Facebook. (Sorry, but this is the way books are sold these days. It’s not that I particularly enjoy posting images like that all over social media, but I’m told by my publisher and many other experts it has to be done. Whatever.)

The officer graciously took my picture and told me he likes to keep an eye on the park to make sure it is safe. Even better. The weather was so unusual, too. It started out as a torrential tropical downpour. Plenty of humidity and heat. And then, as the clouds moved out, it got very sunny and cold. And then, for brief moment, it was as if the cold front backed up and brought some more warm updrafts.

I listened to several songs that were so apropos of the day: “Another Day in Paradise,” and “Free Bird” to name a few that I heard that made me wonder as my husband, Clarence, and I always do, “Why doesn’t everybody live here?” Another few months of the kinds of videos we’ve seen from up North, and they all might. In the meantime, I try to remain compassionate, and try not to rub my Florida living too much in anyone’s face, especially on Facebook. Someone said this week I was probably running in a bikini. I corrected that perception immediately. Gotta run!

You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at or 941-704-1025.

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