Life lessons through golf
I was first introduced to the game of golf at the early age of six when my parents enrolled me in the First Tee program. First Tee taught me the fundamentals of golf and offered competition experience by hosting tournaments. Nine years later, I am a sophomore at St. John’s School, where I play for the school team. This summer, the opportunity came to give back to a community that helped me to develop as a golfer, but even more so as a person.
In each class, one of the youth mentors, such as myself, was assigned to a group of students, ranging from ages 5 to 16. While guiding the students in golf activities and practice drills, I aimed to make the learning process enjoyable while ensuring that they maintained a positive attitude to overcome difficulty and frustration, as golf was a new endeavor for many of them. Over time, we introduced fundamental golf techniques.
Each class began with a classroom session in which the head coaches and youth mentors introduced a new core value, such as perseverance, responsibility, sportsmanship, and integrity. Prior to heading out to the practice area, we explained the significance of these values in the context of golf. While practicing, we would reiterate these classroom principles and their relevance as the students faced difficulty when approaching new challenges to the game.
As Arnold Palmer wonderfully phrased it, “Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.” Over the course of a month, I began to notice the students not only rehearsing these principles habitually in golf, but applying them to their everyday social conduct. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to see several students taking the initiative to start practicing with their parents regularly.
Through mentorship in the classroom and guidance on the course, I hope that I was able to help the students explore a sport that they can enjoy and pursue lifelong. I strongly encourage others with a passion for golf to lend help, as this experience was an unforgettable one that I plan to revisit in the near future.
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