Junior Golf Alliance of NY

Sep 102011

Grace, Susan and Joe Kochan take in the Futures Saturday

By John Craig

ALBANY – Hand-in-hand, five-year old Emily Lobb held her grandfather’s hand as they circled the putting green at Capital Hills @ Albany Saturday, with a program and a pen.

“I’d like to introduce her to golf,” said grandpa Jens Lobb. “I bought her a set of golf clubs when she was two and she’s outgrown them. She’s played some, not a whole lot.”

Immediately, Emily chimed in with: “After this, we’re going to go play miniature golf.”

They were just one of a number of families that came out on a beautiful Saturday to watch the top developmental league of the LPGA, the Futures Tour, as players began the second round of the Price Chopper Tour Championship.

Grace Kochan's signed hat


With several autographs on her pink painter’s cap from The Edison Club, Grace Kochan was so excited about one in particular: Kathleen Ekey.

“I asked her [for the autograph] and she asked me how old I am and what’s my name. She said ‘how are you doing?’” the 8-year old Grace recalled in her sweet voice.

She came to the course with her parents, Susan & Joe. They live in Scotia and wanted to teach Grace more about golf.

“Grace is starting this year,” Joe said. “We play golf so we’d like to come over and watch the young girls.

“We wanted to get Grace kind of introduced to the game and tell her a little bit about what these girls do and the sacrifice that their families make and they make to pursue their dream here.”

Also on her hat, signatures from Susan Choi and Lyndsay McBride, who also gave Grace a golf ball.

But it was Ekey, the #1 player on the Futures money list, and the person on the Futures billboards around the Capital Area, that Grace was ready to follow around the course. After all, when Grace told her she was interested in golf and was 8 years old, Ekey told her: “You’re the perfect age.”

“This is Grace’s first time out and I haven’t been out in a few years,” said Joe, just before the three of them headed down the fairway.

Emily Lobb with her grandfather, Jens at the Futures


Jens Lobb of Greenville sported a Thunderhart hat, where his a member in Greene County, and said this trip with his wife and granddaughter, who lives in Oneonta, had been planned for sometime while Emily’s parents were out of town for a wedding.

“Planting the seeds,” Jens said. “She sat over there watching them putt and asked her ‘what do you think?’ She said ‘I love it.’ That’s music to my ears.”

Jens Lobb, a lawyer, lived on Fleetwood Ave. in Albany while attending Albany Law School: “I’ve been playing lousy golf for 45 years or more,” he said with a smile, hoping Emily won’t do the same.


Also on hand at Capital Hills, 11-year old Juliette Melita, who started 6th grade at Lisha Kill Middle School and is playing junior golf.

“Watching them might teach me something like how to swing better, where my feet should go,” Juliette said.
It was both her, and her dad’s, first time out to the Futures.

“I got her involved with junior PGA to get her exposed to higher levels of golf,” said Douglas Melita of Niskayuna. “We’ll see what it turns into.”