MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Some very happy and lucky young kids got a chance to swing golf clubs and hit golf balls at the Links at Whitehaven Thursday. The SCIAA held a golf clinic, teaching the skills and intricacies of the game to some very talented students.
Thanks to a partnership between Shelby County Schools and the SCIAA, hundreds of elementary school students now have the opportunity to get out of the classroom and onto a golf course.
“The things that I like about golf is being out here and having nature and putting the ball in the circle,” said Whitehaven 3rd grader Aiden Townsel.
“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you still have fun,” said Whitehaven 3rd grader Tamiaya Green.
Three years in, the SCS golf initiative teaches the sport to third, fourth, and fifth grade students from a variety of area schools. The goal is to inspire more Memphis kids to pursue the sport competitively.
“We had a small number of kids in our junior program when we started, almost none, and through the last three years we’ve managed to grow it, it’s become bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Dusty Sykes, the Links at Whitehaven general manager.
“I’m seeing development. I mean we’re able now to begin to look at starting golf teams in our middle schools. That was the purpose of starting in elementary so growth can continue,” said SCIAA Athletics Director Don Holmes.
Helping SCIAA is Tennessee Golf Foundation Regional Director Mackenzie Mack, who sees infinite opportunities for young Memphis golfers.
“Everybody can’t play football. Everybody can’t play basketball, and so this gives them another opportunity another chance to be athletic and still earn a scholarship,” said Mack.
Mack also runs the city’s first tee program. It’s free to join and allows all golfers under the age of 18 to play for free at any city course.
With an early introduction to the sport, these kids at least get a grip on the game.
“I wouldn’t say I’m better. But I would say that I’m good at trying at it,” said Green.
And perhaps someday…
“Well, I could make money,” said Townsel.