The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 13, 2013

Who’s letting the dog out?

Annual golf clinic dedicated to loyal companion, Callaway

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — If you’re dogged by your poor golfing skills, you may want to participate in the annual YMCA golf clinic Sunday, which happens to be dedicated to a dog.

The event will be at the YMCA from 1-2:30 p.m., but you might want to get their by 12:30 to greet golf course dog Callaway.

Callaway, 11, with his master, Jim Lebzelter, has participated in the clinics for a decade. A black lab and Great Dane mix, he has been the official greeter for those participating for a decade. However, Callaway has had recent health problems, but will still be there for those who want to stop and see him.

He got his name as a pup when he would run around the yard with the Callaway golf bag and golf clubs inside.  

“We are dedicating this clinic to Callaway because he has participated in 15 outdoor golf clinics over the years,” Lebzelter said. “He greeted golfers as they arrived and showed them where to go and accompanied them to their cars when they had finished hitting balls.”

He entertained the golfers during the golf clinics by unscrewing the cap off a water bottle with his teeth. When a golfer dropped his head cover, Callaway would pick it up and run with it in his mouth, shaking it furiously.

His first experience with golf was at Thunder Hill Golf Course in Madison Township.

“This is where his personality kicked into high gear,” Lebzelter said. “After greeting golfers, he looked in their carts for food. His personality and friendly demeanor dubbed him the name ‘The Golf Course Dog.’”

He was disciplined to never touch a golf ball and hardly ever walked on the greens as he waited for Lebzelter’s foursome on the next tee.

For those who do not wish to take part in the clinic, but would like to meet Callaway, the doors will be open at 12:30 p.m. The clinic begins at 1 p.m. People may also watch, but not participate, in the clinic for free.

Snacks and drinks will be provided for those visiting Callaway.

To register, call the YMCA at 997-5321.    

“All levels of golfers are welcome at the clinic and this is where we will correct everybody’s ‘slice’ in four easy steps,” Lebzelter said. “We will cover all fundamentals of the golf swing and teach the advanced methods of hitting the ball straighter and further.”

 Lebzelter has been instructing golf and specializes in golf clinics for charities. He also has five or more qualified instructors to help everybody improve their game.