Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youths Can Take a Swing at Golf

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youths Can Take a Swing at Golf

Article excerpt

From high atop a hill on the putting green at Pleasant Ridge in Stowe, golfers can see a distant but clear view of the Downtown Pittsburgh skyline. If there is a future Tiger Woods in the community, that young golfer "can hang out here all the time, like this is their country club," said Paul Coultas, who oversees the course and the programs and clinics that are taught there.

This is not a full 18-hole golf course. This is a five-acre, three-hole course to practice chipping, pitching, putting and "full swing." In June, construction was completed on a club house that includes two indoor golf simulators.

It's all part of a program called The First Tee of Pittsburgh at Pleasant Ridge. The goal is to teach golf -- and more -- to children ages 5 to 18.

The program includes teaching what are called "nine core values" - - respect, judgment, confidence, responsibility, sportsmanship, courtesy, honesty, integrity and perseverance.

The First Tee is a youth development organization with programs all over the world. Locally, the program is based at The Bob O'Connor Golf Course in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park.

The mini-course in Stowe was built six years ago by the Allegheny County Housing Authority as part of what used to be known as the Ohioview Acres public housing development. It's now known as Pleasant Ridge and includes owner-occupied houses and units where the rent is on a sliding scale based on income. The county leases the course to The First Tee. The county also funded construction of the clubhouse.

The next round of six-week clinics start next month: 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting Oct. 10, for ages 9 and up; 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, starting Oct. 12, for 5- to 8-year-olds; and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, starting Oct. 12, for 7- and 8-year-olds. The cost is $20 for families with an income of $40,000 or more per year, and $10 for families with incomes under $40,000. Scholarships are available for families that cannot afford the fee. Clubs, golf balls and other equipment are provided at no cost.

Children use special equipment known as SNAG for I'm Starting New At Golf. The clubs are plastic with oversized heads, and the balls are brightly colored, bigger than standard golf balls and made of fabric fastening tape so that they stick to targets. …

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