Young golf fanatic tees off season

Youth golfer Nicole Criscone prepares to hit the first drive of the season at the Barney Road Golf Course.

KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHERYouth golfer Nicole Criscone prepares to hit the first drive of the season at the Barney Road Golf Course. KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — Nicole Criscone, Clifton Park’s most “famous” young golfer, ushered in the golf season  by hitting the first drive at the Barney Road Golf Course on April 14.

Criscone, at 11-years-old, has already been golfing for just about six years. The first Capital Region resident to compete in the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship in Georgia last April, Criscone started golfing when she went to the range with her father, Craig Criscone by chance and decided that she wanted to try to hit the ball. Nicole said that she hit that first ball pretty well, and decided that she wanted to pursue the sport.

Eventually, she got her own clubs and started to take lessons. Criscone even got to meet and take pictures with her  favorite golfer, Paula Creamer, who she called a great golfer and inspiration.

Criscone has more tournaments lined up for this season, and her goal is to shoot a par round.

“I’m going to work hard try to do that,” Criscone said. She is also participating in the Win Green Campaign with 49 other junior golfers from all over the world to raise $100,000 to find a cure for pediatric cancer. Specifically, Criscone is golfing to raise money for 9-year-old Sadie Keller from Texas, who suffers from Leukemia, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. So far, Criscone and the other golfers have raised over $20,000.

“We’re trying to help her and her family with all of this,” Criscone said. “I just think it’s a great thing to do. I like golfing, so I can golf for her, and raise money for her. I just want to help her. She’s going through a lot.”

Criscone plans on continuing to golf, and protested against the idea of golf being a boring sport.

“Most people think it’s boring, but it’s not. It’s fun!” Criscone said. “It’s all fun.” Criscone said that competing doesn’t make her nervous. Her only concern, she said is continuing to play.

“I just like being outside playing something,” she said.