In an earlier post I spoke about the decision to volunteer at the First Tee. Well due to some circumstances not entirely my fault I had to skip out on the Early Spring session. Well the second session of the spring started on Thursday and I was there waiting to go.
I was able to get to the driving range where the class took place about 15 minutes before class started . Walking up to the class I saw 10 kids already there ready to go. This surprised me since it was supposed to start at 6. Thats a tight window for someone who gets off at 5 to pick up their kid and get them to the range in an hour. It was impressive. As I looked around I saw about 6 other coaches already there as well. This also was very good to see. The coordinator grabbed me and told me to make a name tag and that I would be working with the older kids. I can handle older kids MUCH better than younger ones. When I work with my wife’s youth group she puts me with the older kids. I feel I can actually talk to them and not just get them to actually listen. The clock hit 6 and we headed outside.
Coach Mike leads the kids in their warm up. The game consisted of having two options (Cookies or Ice Cream etc etc). After hearing the options they had to run and pick a side. If they couldnt decide they had to stand in the middle and do a “workout move”. Eventually the kids were deciding on the middle and wanted to do the jumping jacks or push ups. After we finished our warm up we separate by age/skill level. My group drew chipping first.
The most important theme of the day is the core value. On day one the First Tee likes to promote its biggest and most important core value: Respect. We taught respect in varous ways. Having the kids patiently wait their turn at the various stations. Not talking while a coach is talking. Things like that. They got awarded with a Starburst whenever we saw that. Its crazy how well a kid acts when they know there is a chance for a single Starburst.
By know youre wondering what we taught the kids. First lesson was all about the grip. We went over the 3 types of grips you can use to grab a club. For those not sure those are the 10 finger (baseball style),Interlock, and overlap (Vardon). To demonstrate that those will be the best ways to hold a golf club we had the kids hit some chips like a hockey player.Bottom hand REALLY low. No one could make solid contact at all. When holding it hockey stick style there were so many balls shooting across the green it was hard to contain. After making the kids pick up the balls and rotate we made them hit a chip cross handed. Contact got a little better but still not very good. We actually had a few stay on the green and 2 even hit the target hula hoops. Next up was full swing. Overall it was same thing. Hockey stick style, cross handed,normal.We obviously did this with a 7 iron. We went through all the different styles and had some time left at that station. A couple of students were asking to hit driver so we decided to let them hit their drivers. Some of the older kids who have been in the program for a while could really stripe the ball. I never thought I could be envious of a 12 yr old but then you watch him hit his driver 150 dead straight with a little draw and you think, “what am I doing with my life?”. After that we moved to putting where we let each kid putt in the same 3 styles. It was fun to watch the kids have been while also being respectful of the other kids playing. Honestly me and my co-coach had no idea what we were doing at the putting station. We had a game set up but didnt really get it. We decided to teach the kids respect by showing the order of play and how to play fast golf. We figured we can have them learn that. The last thing I want is for a kid to grow up thinking he can take 5 hours for a round of golf. Also if you think thats ok youre the worst person in the world. Id rather you stay away from every golf course ever… Sorry got carried away there.We wrapped up class and went over respect one more time. the kids all gathered up their clubs and headed home.
At this point I could have told everyone good bye or I could have helped the staff hit balls out into the range so the picker could grab them. Well when youre trying to reach scratch you take any opportunity to practice you can so I went out and hit about 25 balls. All were pretty good shots. It was nice to be loose and just hang out with some fellow golfers.
Well guys Ill see you tomorrow when #thequestcontinues