Apr 052010
 

TROY – Monday morning, Mayor Harry Tutunjian struck his ceremonial opening tee shot at Troy’s Frear Park Golf Course but unlike previous years, he was not alone on stage. He was joined by several school kids, off this week, who want to take part in “Hook A Kid On Golf.”

“An old adage says ‘golf is a good walk spoiled’, which may be true,” said Mayor Tutunjian. “It’s also a game that teaches patience, focus, and concentration; things that are good for kids to learn. We are proud to bring ‘Hook A Kid On Golf’ to historic Frear Park Golf Course and urge Troy’s kids to take a shot and learn the game from community leaders this summer.”

The national program has been around for 20 years. In Troy , it will be a series of week-long golf clinics held at Frear Park beginning July 12th for six consecutive weeks.

“It’s more that just hitting a golf ball,” said Frank Ciarlo, Board Chair of Troy’s chapter. “It’s about connecting the kids to the community and the community to the kids. After all, it’s these kids that will be leaders in the community in the years to come. Charities will rely on them and golf can teach life skills.”

Initially, it’s open to kids ranging in age from 8-15. The “Tee Level” Clinic is part of Hook A Kid On Golf’s ongoing effort to get children involved in the game who otherwise might be denied access because of cost, lack of course availability, and other obstacles.

“I am very excited to see the Hook A Kid On Golf program being hosted in Troy,” said Caitlin Autwell, National Program Director. “I anticipate a fantastic summer and many more years of success, positively impacting the youth in this great community,”

The clinic will feature instruction on driving, chipping and putting. There will also be special presentations from community leaders on golf course maintenance; rules and etiquette of the game; alcohol and drug awareness.

Click here to download the program registration form.

To help fund the program, the USGA offers a grant. But the bulk of the money is generated locally. Tutunjian has turned his annual “Mayor’s Cup” tournament into the Collar City’s “Mayor’s Cup Charity Classic” to benefit this new summer program. The money raised will go toward scholarships for kids who want to participate in the Hook A Kid On Golf program. Families can apply to help defray the cost of the program, which is $135 per child per week.

This year the “Mayor’s Cup Charity Classic” will be held June 25 beginning at 11:30 AM. The cost will be $400 per team or $100 per individual.

“We are holding the golf tournament on Friday, June 25, which, not coincidentally, is the last day of school,” said County Legislator Peter Ryan, the chair of the golf tournament. “We have support from teachers and community groups before the traditional July 4th holiday. Then we get going with the clinics.

Click here to download the tournament registration form.

“We will be out there, recruiting, stopping in stores and signing up the league members to give an afternoon of their time for a traditional golf tournament that will provide seed money for what we hope is a new tradition here in Troy.”

Troy’s chapter of “Hook A Kid On Golf” comes after two successful seasons in Schenectady. There, the Municipal Course is gearing up for its third summer, averaging 60 kids in each of the past two years. Schenectady has partnered with community groups like the YMCA and the NAACP and Troy is following that lead.

“This will be more than kids on a driving range or a putting green,” said Rev. Cornelius Clark, the head of Troy’s chapter of the NAACP. “For some kids, it will be their first venture into golf.

“One of the best things about this program is bringing in speakers from the community who can tell them about their job, their opportunities and what the game can do over a lifetime.”

“As teachers, we look forward to the summer because it means a couple of things,” said Mark Walsh, the President of the teacher’s union. “First, we have brought kids through another year and left them more prepared than when we first saw them last fall, and second, time to recharge.

“For the kids, we hope they don’t stop learning and with this program, they won’t. They will be doing something outside, interactive and still have the rest of the day.”

For more information on how to register your child for Troy’s Hook A Kid On Golf you can contact Frear Park at 270-4553.