First Tee Program Exposes Students to the Basics of Golf

     Published on 8/14/15   Tagged under:    District News   

SCSD students are learning the basics of golf—putting, driving, chipping and more—thanks to the First Tee of Syracuse program, which also aims to teach life skills and core values.
“The goal of the camp is to introduce golf to inner-city children and possibly spark their interest in the sport,” said Thomas Felton, one of the Graduate Assistant Supervisors for the program. “We also aim to get them out to experience the beautiful green space at Butternut Creek [Golf Course, in Jamesville] and teach them about the social aspects of golf and how it can translate into their personal lives.”
While students varied in skill level, all expressed enjoyment with the program. Seymour fifth grader Gerardo Becerra “I like it because I get to hit a ball super far!”
Bellevue sixth grader Terri Kerce has picked up many of the technical terms of the sport. “The hardest parts are chipping and full swings because you have to hit the ball so far,” she explained. “Putting is my favorite because you get to put the ball in the hole!”
The camp allows students to rotate through four to five stations, each teaching a specific skill: putting, chipping, driving, core values and more. While learning about good judgment, how to make good decisions and be persistent, Seymour fourth grader Jeidian Pizarro said the core values station is her favorite. “We get to play fun games here, and I like that they teach us how to do things,” she said. “I want to keep playing!”
Seymour fifth grader Naimah Ruffin “Golf is really fun. I get really confident when they help me. I’ll say I can’t do it, and then I learn that I can do anything I put my mind to,” she said, noting that her goal is to hit a ball 200 yards and she has already made it to 150.
Felton said First Tee has grown significantly over the past three years, now reaching about 250 SCSD students from Bellevue, Frazer, Huntington, H.W. Smith, Hughes, Dr. King, LeMoyne, Seymour and Van Duyn.