Junior Golf Alliance of NY

Jul 292011

By John Cooney

Twenty-eight golf enthusiasts gathered Monday morning, July 25, at Frear Park as participants in this year’s Hook a Kid on Golf, Troy edition.  But this group did not fit the typical golf profile; no Ralph Lauren polos or $200 Foot Joys.

Nike logos were the order of the day, but notably, they were on T-shirts and sneakers. Best of all, these golfers were enjoying the greatest game of all in it’s purest form. They were having fun!

Sponsored by the local chapter of Hook a Kid On Golf and mentored by two very dedicated PGA Professionals, students from the Troy City schools spend four mornings on the links to learn not only the technical aspects of the game, but also the principles of sportsmanship and integrity that are attached to the sport.

Brandishing clubs supplied to them by the program, future major champions are taught the game from the putting stroke to the full swing. No custom fitting here; for a nine-year old student the highlight of Tuesday’s session was her discovery that her Bullseye-style putter could hit the ball from either side! The simplest pleasures in life…

Your author has had the opportunity to bestow his limitless golf wisdom (okay, that’s a stretch) upon these budding pros over the last two years, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve experienced some frustration. Attention spans are short for adolescents and teens and they are not as consumed with the proper placement of the left hand on the grip as I sometimes (okay, always) am.

No matter how hard you try to reinforce tempo and fluidity in the swing, it’s all about swinging out of your shoes. Keeping score is actually pretty easy. Watch them flail away and ask for their score: they always get a five.

What I’ve realized after I took the time to escape the hazards of my golf mentality is that a day on the golf course is a new and different experience in their lives that almost always brings with it a feeling of success and accomplishment.

Sinking a three-footer, nailing a drive 150-yards… actually hitting a pitch shot in the air! What the “accomplished” golfer takes for granted is a moment of pure joy for our students.

Maybe we all could learn from their experience. When the game causes us frustration and anxiety, perhaps we need to get “hooked on golf” all over again. High fives instead of thrown clubs, cheers instead of expletives. And best of all: you always get a five!

  One Response to “Cooney’s Corner: Frear Park’s Got ‘Em ‘Hooked’”

  1. Good for you John, I don’t think I would have the patience .