Will you help me? I want to introduce 1000 kids to the game of golf...for FREE.
- I'll provide the clubs...special clubs, made just for kids, that they can borrow when they come.
- I'll provide the range balls...one bucket for an introduction, and 3 more FREE if they show an interest in the game.
- I'll teach you how to teach them their 1st golf lesson...it's easier than you think.
But I need you to find the kids and bring them to Village Greens. Your own kids, your kids friends, nieces, nephews, grandkids, neighbor kids, the little league team, the girl scout troop...bring them all. I want to reach 1000 kids and introduce them to the game we both love so much. Trust me, it will be a moment both you and the kid you bring will remember forever.
Why am I doing this?
In just a moment, I'm going to tell you a brief story about a little boy from Plano, Illinois, who grew up to become a golf pro at Village Greens of Woodridge. Perhaps then you'll understand my motivation.
But first, a bit more about 1000 1st Swings.
The Woodridge Park District applied for and received a grant for 10 sets of US Kids golf clubs...clubs made especially for kids. The grant is contingent upon the clubs being available for youth to be able to use FREE of charge while participating on our premises. Furthermore, the Woodridge Park District has agreed to support this initiative by allowing any kid who wants to try golf to obtain a FREE bucket of range balls when an adult accompanies them to our course (to sweeten the deal, I'll even throw in a free bucket of range balls for the adult who brings the child). To participate, all you have to do is come to the course ready to try something new!
One Hour can Change a Kids Life.
If you didn't figure it out earlier, that little boy from Plano I mentioned earlier is me. As a kid, I played everything...baseball, football, basketball, tennis, the organ...everything, that is, except golf.
I don't know what possessed me, but one day I wandered over to a neighbors house, walked right into their garage, took out a golf club from their golf bag, and started swinging away. Fortunately for me, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (our neighbors) were understanding people...instead of calling the police and having me arrested for breaking and entering, they instead suggested that I tag alone with their son the next day to the local YMCA to hit some range balls (you see, in a small town, the field behind the YMCA made a great driving range, provided you brought your own golf balls and picked them up when you were done, just like they did in the 1920's.).
The abbreviated version of the rest of the story goes like this...Eddie Smith takes me to the YMCA (got a speeding ticket on the way)...I attempt to hit golf balls for 1 hour, much to my delite and Eddie's frustration...I made contact...once...I went home and begged my parents to give me $8 to go golfing the next day, $10 for a subscription to Golf Magazine, and $80 for a new set of clubs...I get the $8...3 days, 3 rounds, and $24 later, my parents agree to buy me a membership at Cedardell Golf Club, where I went round and round and round for 6 years, working part time throughout high school, and in a series of fortunate events, wound up becoming the golf pro at Village Greens where I've been for 12 years now and I still haven't had a bad day of work.
You see, without Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their son Eddie, who gave me a club to try and took an hour out of their lives to take me to my first 'driving range', my life would likely be vastly different. Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone will turn into a golf pro, but you and I both know the value of spending quality time with kids, introducing them to a game they can play for a lifetime, a game that teaches honesty, integrity, character, and dedication. A game we can teach them and learn from them, all at the same time.
I'm in a position now to become Mr. and Mrs. Smith...to provide the clubs and the golf balls...it's come full circle for me, and hence my motivation to find 1000 kids and expose them to the game. But I still need your help to find these kids and bring them to the course.
Will you spend one hour to introduce a kid to the game of golf?
There's no risk, no cost, no hassle, no obligation...just an opportunity to potentially make a difference in somebody's life, or at the least enjoy some quality time with a kid.
Kids ages 4 - 17 are welcome.
What about the 3 additional FREE buckets?
If you think the child is interested in the game after their trial visit, we'll ask you to stop in the golf shop and fill out a short survey when you return the golf clubs. In exchange for filling out the survey, we'll give you 3 more FREE buckets of range balls to fuel the childs newfound passion for the game. After that, we think a good percentage of the kids will be hooked on golf and our program will then truly become a success.
"But, I'm not a golf instructor...I can't teach a kid"
Yes, you can.
I recently taught my 1 1/2 year old to swing a club...and up to that point he only understood "Elmo" and "Cheerios"...it's not that hard. Besides, for a beginning golfer (especially kids), everything will seem 'cool'.
Start by teaching them the 5 things a golfer should have in their pocket when getting ready to play and make sure they have them, and what their used for...
- Tee - kids are fascinated with learning how to put a tee in the ground and putting a ball on top of it.
- Golf ball - explain why different golf balls have different numbers...if you can find a different color ball, or one with a crazy pattern on it, kids will love it. Or take a marker and let them decorate their own ball, explaining that it's quite acceptable to put their own unique 'stamp' on a ball for easy identification.
- Scorecard - Take them to the putting green, putt to different holes keeping track of their strokes, and recording their scores on the scorecard. Explain par 3's, par 4's, and par 5's, and what a Birdie, Par, and Bogey mean.
- Pencil - For writing on the scorecard
- Coin - to mark their golf ball - kids are obsessed with marking their golf balls on the putting green...if you remind them by taking turns and explaining that the person furthest from the hole putts first while the other person marks their golf ball.
- Teach them a basic grip - hands together, thumbs straight down the top of the club is sufficient for the 1st time out...make sure to hang on with both hands at all times.
- Teach them 'stance' - feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent is all they need to get started.
- Take them to the putting green 1st...they'll figure out rather quickly that the direction you swing the club is the direction the ball goes, and the harder or softer you swing, the further or shorter the ball goes. Just make sure they don't take a divot. For younger kids...If you have an animal headcover, put it behind the hole and explain that your animal is hungry, the golf ball is a snack, and you need to hit the golf ball into the animals belly (the hole). Older kids enjoy a version of the old "Bozo buckets" game with 5 -6 tees spaced across the green that they have to hit sequentially. Or, put them 2 feet from the hole and challenge them to make 5 putts in a row without missing. They'll have tons of fun. Then, move to the range.
- Teach them to swing without a ball at first - keep the swing simple - keep repeating "back, through, hold" to emphasize backswing, throughswing, and balanced follow through.
- Have them put a tee in the ground (no ball yet). Ask them the swing "back, through, and hold", but try to knock the tee out of the ground with their club (this will introduce them to swinging down towards the ground). Explain what a divot is, and that divots are OK to make.
- When they can knock the tee out of the ground 5 times in a row, ask them to do the same thing, but put a ball on the tee...watch what happens next...it's awesome!
- End by having them hit out of our practice bunker, and make sure the learn to rake the sand, kids will spend an hour hitting and raking, hitting and raking.
That's it, for lesson #1. On the way to the range, you could explain the different parts of the golf course and describe what people are doing, why they're yelling 'Fore', ect.
Remember, it may seem simple and mundane to us, but to a kid, it's like a whole new world, and they'll soak it all in with a smile.
Thanks for your consideration,
Brandon Evans • Director of Fun and Entertainment • Village Greens of Woodridge
Special thank you to KENT SANDS, Titleist, for donating 1000 golf balls for our program. Thanks to Kent, each kid who participates will go home with a new golf ball. Thanks Kent, and thank you Titleist, the #1 Ball in Golf.
Special THANK YOU to Westside Mechanical, Naperville, Illinois, for a most generous cash donation to the 1000 1st Swings Program. Your support of the program is greatly appreciated and the donation will be used to benefit the kids who participate in our initiative.
Accolades from participants
"Brandon, thanks so much for everything this afternoon. The girls had a GREAT time today."
-M. Hasse - St. Joan of Arc 3rd Grade Girl Scout Troop
"I meant to THANK YOU! The kids had a blast and MANY of them had never been on a golf course/driving range before. There was a huge sense of accomplishment with that first "big drive." Thank you very much."
- P. Austgen - Troop 1954, Rattlesnake Patrol Den 6
"Hi Brandon, I will have to check out your FB fan page, and figure out how to connect it to mine, so all my friends can see it. My son and his friends said it was the best birthday ever!! I had a blast too! Couldn't have asked for a better day. A couple of the Mom's said they had never been there, but they would certainly come back. The Mom I had with me(she brought her own great set of clubs), and I our going to try to squeeze in a round before school gets out. Thanks again for such an awsome day!! We will certainly be seeing you some more this summer. Have a great weekend. Thanks again for everything."
- Dorothy Daniele (new golf instructor for kids)