A BAG-FULL OF FUN AT HOOK A KID ON GOLF by John Craig
(from the 2009 season)
With golf bags in tow, they came four-by-four from far and wide, on the second day of a work week, to help kids expand their horizons. In other words, a bunch of foursomes got together for a day of golf at the 2009 “Hook A Kid On Golf Charity Classic.” A good time was had by all.
“Congratulations! [It] takes a lot of time and effort to put on an event like this,” wrote businesswoman Sharon Hoorwitz in an e-mail to the Operating Board of Hook A Kid On Golf. “The weather certainly cooperated….Happy golfing to all the junior golfers.” That pretty much sums it up. It’s a one day event for supporters but a six-week program for kids in Schenectady County.
The event was held July 28 at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course and raised more than 10-thousand dollars for the clinics. The golf clinics, run by PGA Head Professional Brian Damon along with assistants Anthony Abbruzzese and Mark Fretto, run for six weeks from 8:00 AM to noon. They began Monday, July 13 and runs until August 21.
Major supporters include city Mayor Brian Stratton, Price Chopper, NYSUT, Schenectady NAACP, Schenectady YMCA, FedEx, Clough Harbour, Fenimore Asset Management, Schenectady’s Promise, Wyld About Life and Oak Ridge Golf Clubs.
Capitalareagolf.com is another major sponsor which provides coverage of golf throughout the year. It’s your link for stories about this charity, junior golf, personalities and photos.
WHAT’S IN THE BAG? COMMUNITY SUPPORT
This year, “Hook A Kid On Golf’s” second in Schenectady, the organization had tremendous support from the community. Just organizing the event is a teaching tool for kids and parents involved with the program. The involvement by the New York State United Teachers Union, NAACP and YMCA all bring kids to the event, introduce them to the game and repeatedly get them to the golf course.
The YMCA runs a camp at Jerry Burrell Park in the Hamilton Hill section of Schenectady and sends kids from those camps to the municipal golf course week after week. Lou Magliocca, the YMCA’s Executive Director, stepped up with buses for the program. “We are making it easy for kids interested in golf,” Magliocca said. “It’s a great program and we expect to be involved for years to come.
“This is an excellent opportunity for kids to be exposed to something that they might never be exposed to in life,” he said. They all joined up after seeing the success from the first year, when Schenectady was named by the national organization as “New Site of the Year” and taught more than 60 kids the game while raising $24,000.
BOB MURPHY’S BAG
“I have all Callaway equipment and it is a nice bag and…it was on display and I liked it.” So says Tony Galka, who got the most unique item that was offered at the second “Hook A Kid On Golf Charity Classic,” a Callaway Diablo Staff golf bag with the “Hook A Kid On Golf” logo and the name “Bob Murphy” embroidered on the side.
Former PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Bob Murphy has been the spokesman for the national charity since its inception, 19 summers ago. Murphy is currently a golf broadcaster for NBC Sports and took time from his work at the U.S. Open to record a video message specifically for the Schenectady Chapter. Before heading back to the broadcast compound, he said, “Maybe I can do more. I might have a few things to help you out.”
A few days after Lucas Glover’s final putt dropped and he held the U.S. Open trophy, Murphy had flown home to Florida and shipped a brand new bag from Callaway, his sponsor, and an official “Bob Murphy Irishman” head cover. Both were auctioned off.
The head cover was bought by Ben Gabriele for $40 and the cart bag was bought by Galka for $150.
“It’s a good deal plus it’s a good cause,” Galka said. “I know he’s a commentator and I like him. I’m definitely into golf.” Galka, 61, started playing golf just six years ago as he retired from his managerial job at GE.
“My days were never my own so I didn’t realize what golf was until I retired so I’m pretty much into it now,” he said. He plays up to four times a week, usually with retired firemen, and carries a 14-handicap.
“I really wish I started when I was younger,” he said. He grew up playing baseball, basketball and bowling. These days, you’ll find him at Schenectady Muni and Briar Creek, where he is in leagues. But he likes to branch out too.
“I try to play one different course a week,” he said.
Town of Colonie is another favorite and if you see the maroon Diablo bag on the back of a cart, it’s probably not Bob Murphy, but Galka. He thinks the effort in Schenectady is something that should be embraced.
13TH HOLE A NEW BAG OF TRICKS
Players who participated got an added treat when they got to the 13th hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. There they found a junior golfer who helped each foursome at the par-3, 155-yard hole nicknamed “Goose.”
Each player hit their tee shot and then got the aid of a promising young player who gave the team an extra shot to choose from in the scramble format. He then went up to help putt and more often than not, a team left with a birdie on the scorecard.
After the event, while chatting over food served by the Municipal Grille, that unique addition was the talk of the tournament.
To see more pictures of the fun at the 13th and the other 17 holes, Capitalareagolf.com has photos taken by local photographer Dave Kraus.
Each of the 80 golfers took away much more than just a day away from work and a scramble score. Each player found a goody bag filled with great items including one unique addition compared to most outings: a book on golf.
“Golflyns in America” by John Swantek and illustrated by Erica Pelton is for anyone who loves the game of golf, but there’s a warning on the cover. It reads: “Don’t even try to buy this book for yourself!” The idea is that if you dare to learn the ways of the Golflyns – leprechaun/troll-like figures that affect your game – it will improve your scores but buying it yourself nixes, maybe “86’s,” the karma. It’s a book that is geared for older readers but open to anyone who tees it up.
It’s published by Jan Spairana, President of Eagle Crest Publishing in Troy. He donated dozens of copies for the golfers and extras for the kids in the clinic. There is a second book written but not yet published. Maybe the response from this giveaway will spur on the sequel.
Also in the bag were hats donated by CDPHP; pens, pencils and DNA ID kits from The Center for Hope and Doug and Mary Lyall; koozies from First National Bank of Scotia; water bottles from MVP Healthcare and the Air National Guard; note pads, footballs, highlighters and MOJO Nike golf balls from Brian Damon. “Hook A Kid On Golf” Executive Director Frank Ciarlo said that special thanks goes to the Chamber of Schenectady County for its help in rounding up some items.
Golfers all had memories of what could-have-been with the putting contest. Top prize was $5,000 but the finalist did not make the 60-foot tester. Entry fee was $10 per putt and it raised quite a bit of money for “Hook A Kid On Golf.”
Donations also came from “Top of the World Resort” in Lake George, and even TaylorMade golf. A graphic designer with the company, Chris Piniarski, donated three hats – red, white and blue – that all sported a unique logo designed by him for company players and caddies only at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Each hat was auctioned off and brought more than $100 total.
19th SUMMER IN THE BAG
The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS), is currently enjoying its 19th summer of introducing first-timers to the game of golf. Since its inception in 1990, approximately 75,000 children throughout 300 communities have participated in the program. Last year alone, more than 3,500 children were able to experience golf for the first time thanks to “Hook A Kid On Golf.”
1990: The first Hook A Kid On Golf facility was officially unveiled at the Ironhorse Golf Club in Leawood, Kansas.
1991: Partnered with the United States Golf Association (USGA) to provide grant opportunities to communities in underprivileged areas, allowing even more children to experience the game who otherwise would never have had an opportunity. Since then the program has enjoyed unprecedented growth every year.
1999: NAYS added to the mix the annual Traditions of Golf Challenge tournament, in which outstanding teams already involved are chosen to participate.
Three levels: Tee Level Introductory Clinic, kids ages 8-13 with no prior golf experience; Green Level Training Program, ages 8-15 with a basic knowledge of golf; Challenge Golf Leagues, team-oriented recreation league play ages 8-15 with moderate experience.
MEDIA TALKS ABOUT the Hook a Kid on Golf program
BENEFIT HELPS PROGRAM THAT LINKS YOUTH, GOLF
PAUL NELSON STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region, Page: D2
Date: Thursday, July 2, 2009
Editorial: Schenectady youth golf program good for the kids, and Muny, too
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
SCHENECTADY FINDS FRIEND IN BOB MURPHY By John Craig
Schenectady’s “Hook A Kid On Golf” chapter has found a friend in Bob Murphy.
“We feel that our mission is to introduce youngsters to golf,” Murphy said.
The veteran PGA Tour and Champions Tour player turned television golf announcer is also the National Spokesman for “Hook A Kid On Golf.”
Murphy first became aware of “Hook A Kid On Golf” when he read an ad in the “Palm Beach Post.” It was asking for donations to send kids to a golf camp. So Murphy wrote a check for $100 and called his dad, who also sent a check. But Murphy wanted to know more so the next day he met with Fred Engh and his son John, who were starting this charity.
Murphy realized the Engh’s were serious so he began to do more.“I don’t do the work that they do but I try to keep it in the limelight once in a while and mention it when I can and help them raise money,” Murphy said.
At the time, Murphy had an affiliation with the Northwestern Golf Company and got clubs for kids.
“That was our meager beginning and Fred and John have done a fantastic job promoting and getting this whole thing going,” Murphy said.
Even though he doesn’t play much anymore – “I play just like a retired person, it’s not much fun,” he joked – Murphy holds a fundraiser every January in Florida for “Hook A Kid On Golf.” His signature can be found on the organization’s bag tags and other promotional items.
“It’s a very good program and very well run, that I can say for sure,” Murphy said.
“Hook A Kid On Golf” has chapters all across the country and Murphy says he meets kids all the time who have been introduced to the game through “Hook A Kid.”
“It’s a good feeling,” he said.
The USGA is the single largest donor each year for the program. Murphy says the USGA backs the program because of what it stands for: teaching, rules, etiquette and history of the game.
“They do a nice matching fund for us and they do it because we are interested in history and we’re interested in the rules,” he said.
“Hook A Kid On Golf” relies on the cities to build the base and hold fundraisers.
“I tell the guys, ‘it’s OK to be in 100 or 200 cities.’ You don’t have to be in every city in America,” he said. “When you get a city that’s hot and a city buys into it, then you’ve got a score right there to get a good program going.”
FROM BROOKLYN TO BOYNTON BEACH
Murphy has very brief ties to the state of New York. He was born on Valentine’s Day in Brooklyn and when he was just five weeks old, his family moved to Florida where he’s been ever since. Murphy, 66, still has relatives in Brooklyn and on Long Island but he lives in Boynton Beach, Florida with his wife Gail. They have a daughter, Kimberly, and several grandchildren.
Growing up, Murphy wanted to be a football player. But he got injured and was benched so he turned to golf. He earned a Physical Education Degree at the University of Florida and turned pro in 1967. He joined the PGA Tour a year later.
Murphy earned five PGA Tour victories during his time on the Tour (1968-1993). Despite battling severe arthritis, Murphy turned to the Champions Tour where he was a rookie again in 1993. He won twice that year and earned “Rookie of the Year” honors. Overall, he has 11 Champions Tour wins. Between the two Tours, Murphy has earned more than $8 million.
These days, he’s represented by Tour Talent, based in Cleveland, Ohio, which books him for speaking engagements and charity golf tournaments. In 2002, he was the headliner at the “Double-H Hole in the Woods” Tournament in Lake George. He played a par-3 with each of the foursomes that came through.
Murphy had been a broadcaster for ESPN in the 1990’s and since 2000 NBC Sports. When he’s not on the course or in the booth, Murphy likes to find a quiet spot to fish or keep up on the stock market.
The stock keeps rising with “Hook A Kid On Golf” and one of the main lessons Murphy hopes kids take from their time in the clinics is etiquette and respect for the game and the course they are playing.
“We tell them, ‘OK, we’re going to go out and we’re going to play and I’ll see you at the end of the nine in two hours.’ What’s that mean? It means, if you’re not done playing that nine holes in two hours, well, you are done. You just pack it in and walk to the ninth hole because you are all done.
“We’re going to teach them to play fast and teach them how to rake bunkers. And then, quite frankly, when they go through our programs they go to the public golf course a good citizen, a citizen who is well armed with the etiquette and the rules. We feel that’s a darn good thing to do.”
This year, here in Schenectady, Murphy has not only donated his autograph on several hats but also a 2009 Bob Murphy Callaway Cart Bag with the “Hook A Kid On Golf” logo on it and an official “Bob Murphy Head Cover.” Those items, along with many others, will be auctioned off at the Charity Tournament July 28th after the fundraising tournament. Tee time is 11:00 AM at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
For more on last year’s 2008 successful events folow these links
Here are a couple of videos from last month’s HAKOG, Hook a Kid on Golf Project in Schenectady:
Video 1: Live News Report from the Course
Video 2: Bob Murphy’s Message
Here is a photo album of the event too.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Edit this entry.
New Summer Golf Clinics Begin in Schenectady by John Craig
July 13th, 2009 fciarlo Posted in Junior | Edit |
SCHENECTADY – In the movies, they say that the sequel rarely lives up to the original. But this summer, there’s a sequel in Schenectady that has all the makings of a terrific opening and a record-setting year. But it’s not inside a theater, it’s outside at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.“We are going to getting more kids involved in the program,” said Mayor Brian U. Stratton during a news conference Saturday July 11 in preparation of the golf clinics getting underway for the next six weeks at the city golf course.
This year, the Schenectady chapter of the national program “Hook A Kid On Golf” is partnering with several community organizations to get more kids involved in the already successful program.
The Schenectady YMCA will bus kids to the golf course, said YMCA Executive Director Lou Magliocca. The YMCA is already running programs as Jerry Burrell Park in the Hamilton Hill section of the city this summer. As part of the agreement they will bring kids interested in learning the game of golf to the course each weekday.
“Those kids in the Hamilton Hill area participating in our Jerry Burrell Park Program may never hold a golf club, come to a golf course or have the opportunity to take a golf lesson…it’s going to be an excellent opportunity for those kids to be able to be exposed to something that they might never be exposed to in life,” Magliocca said.
Schenectady Municipal Golf Course is running the “Hook A Kid On Golf” clinics for the next six weeks. Cost is $135 per kid per week but scholarship money is available to help offset or, in some cases, eliminate that cost, said “Hook A Kid On Golf” chapter president Frank Ciarlo.
Clinics will run from July 13 through the week beginning August 17. Kids will be taught by golf course PGA Professional Brian Damon and assistants Anthony Abbruzzese and Mark Fretto. Guest speakers from different parts of the community will also be brought in to talk with kids.
June 12th, 2009
2009 – Clinics and Charity tournament
Schenectady’s Hook a Kid on Golf program is getting ready for year two. In 2008 the program was recognized nationally as New Site of the Year. “This is an established – official Hook A Kid On Golf chapter that has significantly upgraded the quality of its junior program.” For the complete article click here http://www.hookakidongolf.org/
For information on this year’s program (2009) click on the PDFs for junior golf clinics and the Charity fund raising tournament on July 28th.
The following PDFs are available for 2009 tournament and clinic registration. Please download, print, fill out and mail to the address specified to register:
Register for Clinics
Register for Fundraising Golf Tournament