Youth Golf Program Teaches Life Lessons

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SPARKS, Nev. -- As the weather gets nicer, many people likes to take advantage and enjoy the outdoors. If your child ever wanted to learn how to play golf, but you can't afford the lessons, here's your chance.

Swing! Golf is a game of skill and patience--things many young children and teens have yet to master. That's where the First Tee golf program of Northern Nevada comes in, and the students take away much more than a perfect golf swing.

"Life skills such as why is it important to be honest, why is it important to have integrity and we actually promote nine healthy habits that we actually teach the kids and making sure their healthy not only on the golf course but in life," Chris Dewar, First Tee program director said.

Golf is one of the only sports that doesn't have an umpire of referee to call fouls or technicals, so a lot falls on the student.

"The kids have to actually be honest with themselves and call their own penalties," Dewar said. "It's a great sport to use to teach life skills."

One of the lessons taught at First Tee is the importance of meet and greet, which is taught through putting in golf--like the strength of your grip and making eye contact.

They also learn respect and confidence. Students go through stations to learn basic golf techniques, but but the end of the program, they'll know how to fill out college and job applications.

"We do save kids lives. We change them in the fact that when they come here, they really don't want to be here," she said.

Like twelve-year-old, Ray Sandusky, whose dad signed him up for the session.

"I was like 'yeah I don't want to do this," Sandusky said.

By the end of the six-week session, however, Dewar says the children are completely different people.

"I think it's a program that shapes kids or help shape kids. If you have family values and you have First Tee values then you combine them together, then you get kids as positive as could be," she said.

"The fact that it's really easy to do, it's pretty much anybody's game," Sandusky said. "I hope to do things over and over again until I get better."

Right now, First Tee has outreach programs at 25 elementary schools, but it's open to all children ages 5 to 18.

Dewar says they don't turn any student away. If needed, financial assistance is offered.

To find out more information about the program, click on the link below.