Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Subsidized Golf Program Opens Doors for Youngsters the First Tee Also Emphasizes Life Skills

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Subsidized Golf Program Opens Doors for Youngsters the First Tee Also Emphasizes Life Skills

Article excerpt

Two weeks ago, as part of The First Tee of Pittsburgh's Junior Golf Program, 11-year-old Patrick Bush stood face to face with golf champions Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open.

Patrick, who has played golf since he was 4, dreams of becoming a professional golfer. The game relaxes him, he said, and he appreciates the solitude of the course.

Patrick is one of 1,600 young people, ages 5 through 18, who play golf at regional courses that host The First Tee's programs. Its junior golf program, which includes weekly lessons and golf course access, is open to children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, said Marc Field, executive director of The First Tee of Pittsburgh.

The First Tee covers much of the program's cost - each child's real cost for a seven-session program is $424, but most families pay between $25 and $50 - through grants and donations. In addition to lessons, young players are given their own clubs and can play a round of golf for just $1.

The First Tee is a national nonprofit founded in 1997 for making golf affordable to younger generations. Two former U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, have served as honorary chairmen of The First Tee, and the organization has about 180 chapters around the world.

Since the local program's first year in Schenley Park 15 years ago with just 200 children, the Junior Golf Program slowly expanded through partnerships with schools and churches. Volunteer golf coach Maureen Shannon said The First Tee tries to "take the program to the kids rather than making the kids come to the program."

"Partnering with these kinds of organizations allows us to connect with kids who would not normally be part of our program," Mr. Field said. "They're allowed to come any time, no restrictions. No child or group is turned away for inability to pay."

Patrick's mother, Maureen Bush of Belle Vernon, said the program has been "very affordable" for her middle-class family. Patrick usually plays at the Victory Hills Golf Course in Elizabeth. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.