Junior Golf Alliance of NY

Sep 052011

Kids learn the game at Capital Hills @ Albany and Hook A Kid On Golf


Editor’s Note: Jim Hefti ran the first “Hook A Kid On Golf” program at Capital Hills @ Albany this summer. The following is his recollections with teaching kids during the first year of operation, helping 67 kids from places like the AME Israel Church summer youth program.

It was a challenging and yet rewarding experience. Of the 67 kids, 65 had never held a golf club previous to this activity. In addition, the students were introduced to the history of the game, the business of golf, golf course maintenance, how golf may become an avenue in the future for an career choice through PGA/PGM program or Turfgrass programs at SUNY campuses as well as nationwide.

On several occasions the students were brought into the golf shop so as to have an idea about merchandising, and the business of managing a golf operation. In addition they saw firsthand the basics of turfgrass maintenance. Carter Hoyt of Scott Gallup’s staff made several presentations on the reasons for turfgrass maintenance and, in particular, cup changing techniques. The course is in great hands.

The program was kicked off by a fund raiser golf event attended by Mayor Jerry Jennings and dozens of other new supporters of the program. The “Hook A Kid on Golf” staff at Capital Hills included Anthony Abruzzese and volunteer Jordan DeBose. Without their help, it would have been a tougher time, thanks guys!

The staff at Capital Hills was awesome: Steve Vatter, Head PGA Professional, and his staff were so fantastic. Scott Gallup, GCSAA, and his staff were equally tremendous. Scott has carved four holes out of the back area, adjacent to and including some of the original nine. We were even allowed access to the ‘blackberry patch’! Judy Dube and her staff at Martel’s Restaurant at the course were also equally tremendous in supporting the breaks and lunches. Sometimes when you have 33 kids to feed at the same time, it is a challenge. But the lunches were a great way to either end a session, or create a break in a second session. Thanks to all!

In addition, I was involved with the “advanced player” program at Frear Park GC. There were eight students in this program – all had been through the program previously. The mission of the advanced program was to get these students ready to become active players, and getting them to take their game to the course! This program lasted five weeks, and presented a change of thought and instructional presentation as compared to the morning challenges. It, too, was a very rewarding experience.

To help the Troy program, a fundraising golf tournament supported by Mayor Harry Tutunjian and dozens of players teed off the season.

“Hook A Kid On Golf” was a great, rewarding experience for me and helped make it a summer to remember – for me and hopefully the kids, too.

-Jim Hefti-PGA/MS

Hook A Kid On Golf at Capital Hills @ Albany