Sports

August 6, 2014

Longtime area golf pro Dan Polites will take a swing at Grand Marais

Long one of the most recognizable and well-respected PGA teaching professionals in the metro-east area, Dan Polites is branching out again.

Owner of DP Golf Center and head coach of the highly successful Althoff High School boys golf program, Polites was recently named as Director of Instruction at Grand Marais Golf Club in Centreville.

Located in Frank Holten State Park, Grand Marais was sold early this year to a group of local businessmen which includes Ken Bunetic and Mark Onstott. Wanting to attract instant credibility once again to Grand Marais, the group contacted Polites.

"I almost did this four years ago when I was let go at Clinton Hill but I was transitioning into the Practice Tee and the Lindenwood University-Belleville golf program was in my life,'' Polites said. "Earlier this year when I met with Ken (Bunetic), a man who does a wonderful job of taking care of the golfers and is very passionate about the golf business and Mark (Onstott) who I have a lot of respect for in what he's done in the restaurant business, it was agreed that I would join as the director of instruction.

"I'm happy. The course is in excellent shape and business has been pretty good. I've had several people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy playing here.''

Since joining the staff at Grand Marais, Polites has targeted inner city teaching as one of his goals.

Polites quickly joined forces with Kendra Fipps, founder of Amateur Swing, a non-profit organization.

"Kendra has been doing this at Grand Marais for the past four years where they had volunteers to teach the kids the basics of golf and she teaches life skills and life development. Things like nutrition and banking. She has done a great job in working with the kids.

"I've worked with Kendra and Amateur Swing at Grand Marais all summer on Tuesday and Thursday nights and we've had about 25 kids at times for that.

Polites also taught a 2 1/2 hour clinic for eight weeks with the City of St. Louis and its Public Health Department and director Warren Nichols involving Michelle Obama's "Lets Move'' Initiative , a program designed to help control childhood obsesity. "Let's Move" encourages a healthier diet and out of school, better food labeling, and increased daily physical activity for children.

Polites also announced Wednesday that he will be will be teaching golf to 600 kids as part of the East St. Louis School District 189 Physical Education Program.

"This is really a wonderful thing. This is a national program. It's actually called the Carol M. White Physical Education Program. A total of 15 schools across the country were awarded a grant and they are going to hire four PE teachers,'' Polites said

Barry Malloyd is head of the PEP program for East St. Louis.

As a result of the PEP program, Polites, Fipps, Michelle Torres and Warren Nichols are going to start a company called P3 Inc. -- Play, Personal Growth and Prosperity.

"Because of the grants we're going to teach the kids PE. It's going to give us the chance to have 600 kids with the possiblity of 500 more in an after school program,'' Polites said. "The program begins the first week of September and will include a four week curriculum. The fifth week will be a field trip to Grand Marais. We're very excited about the possibilites of this program."

Polites is also available for individual lessons at Grand Marais.

For information, persons can contact Polites at 233-9500.

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or dcriddle@bnd.com

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